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• • • • 







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attitf^ B i^Bp. 



M.A., F.R.S., &c., 




J^^. e. /^. 












in a quarto volume, entitled " Documents Illus- 
trative of the Burmese War/' The duty of col- 
lecting and editing the documents was entrusted 
by the government to me, and I was permitted 
to prefix to them a short connected narrative of 
the incidents of the war. It is this narrative 
which is now oflfered to the public, under an 
impression, that in the present doubtful aspect 
of our relations with the Burman kingdom, some 
interest and utility may attach to a record of the 

former collision. 

H. H. V^^ILSON. 


Mmj Sth, 1852. 




IN THE YEARS 1824—1826. 

The occurence of hostilities with the neighbour- 
ing kingdom of Ava, was an event which was 
not unforeseen by the British government of 
India^ as the probable consequence of the vic- 
torious career and the extravagant pretensions 
of the Burman state. 

Animated by the reaction which suddenly 
elevated the Burmas from a subjugated and hu- 
miliated people into conquerors and sovereigns, 
the era of their ambition may be dated from the 
recovery of their political independence ; and their 
Uberation from the temporary yoke of the Peguers, 
as the prelude to their conquest of all the sur- 
mding realms. The vigorous despotism of the 
emment, and the confident courage of the 



The war with the Burmas in 1824-26, was at- 
tended with so many circumstances of a novel 
and peculiar character, and opened to European 
access so many new and interesting regions, that 
it was thought advisable by the Government of 
Bengal, to place before the public in a collective 
and available form, a series of official documents, 
illustrative of the origin, course and termination 
of hostilities : providing in this manner a trust- 
worthy guide for any future emergency of a 
similar nature, and disseminating authentic in- 
formation respecting the valuable countries be- 
tween India and China, of which at the time 
little or nothing was known. With these views 
two sets of papers were selected, the one political 
and military, the other topographical and statis- 
tical, and both were printed in Calcutta, in 1827^ 


and either found an asylum in the district of 
Chittagong, or secreted themselves amongst the 
hills and thickets, and alluvial islands along its 
southern and eastern boundaries: from these 
haunts they occasionally sallied, and inflicted 
upon the Burmas in Arakan, a feeble retaliation 
for the injuries they had sustained ; retiring to 
their fastnesses when their purpose was effected, 
or when encountered by superior force. In 
general their efforts were insignificant, and their 
incursions were rather predatory than political; 
but in 1811, a more formidable invasion took 
place, and the fugitives having collected under the 
command of Khyen-bran,* a Mug chief, attempted 
an aggression of a serious character. They were 
joined by many of the Mugs from Chittagong, 
and being aided by those still resident in Arakan 
they soon overran that province and recovered 
the whole of it from the Burmas. Their success 
was transient. Reinforcements arrived from Ava. 
Khyen-bran was defeated and his followers were 
put to the rout, and the insurgents were compelled 
to return to their hiding places on the frontiers of 
Chittagong. Although every exertion was made 
by the police of Chittagong, aided by the military 
to prevent all assemblages of armed men in the 


district, and to disperse them as soon as formed, 
the nature of the country and the generd devotion 
of the Mug population to the cause of Khyen-bran 
rendered every measure of but limited efficacy, 
whilst the issue of the insurgents in such numbers 
from the Company's territory, under the command 
of an individual who had resided many- years 
under the protection of the local authorities, did 
certainly afford reason to the court of Ava to sus- 
pect that the incursions were instigated and sup- 
ported by the British government. In order to 
efface this impression, letters were addressed to 
the raja of Arakan, and viceroy of Pegu, and 
Captain Canning was sent on a mission to Ava, 
to offer every necessaiy explanation. These ad- 
vances were unsuccessful, and the envoy, after 
experiencing much indignity at Rangoon, and in- 
curring some personal peril, was recalled to Ben- 
gal, without communicating with the capital. As 
long as the chiefs of the insurgents were at large, 
the Bnrman government declined all amicable 
communication. They insisted upon the seizure 
of the obnoxious individuals, and their delivery 
by the British officers, or threatened to overrun 
the district of Chittagong, with a force more than 
sufficient for their apprehension. This menace 


was jfrustrated by the presence of a body of troops, 
but due attention was paid to the just claims of 
the Burman government, and parties were dis- 
patched against the fugitives, and rewards offered 
for their capture. Khyen-bran escaped, but 
several of his chief followers were secured. Com- 
mon humanity forbade their being resigned to 
the barbarity of the Burmas, and the refusal to 
deliver them was a source of deep and long 
cherished resentment to the court of Ava. After 
a few years of a precarious and fugitive hfe, 
during which, deserted by his followers and 
straitened by the vigilance with which his move- 
ments were watched by both British and Burmas, 
Khyen-bran was deprived of the means of doing 
mischief, that chieftain died, and left the court of 
Ava no cause of complaint against the government 
of British India.^ 

The death of Khyen-bran, the dispersion of his 
adherents, and the confinement of the principal 
leaders, produced a favourable change in the 
state of the country, and divested such disturb- 
ances as subsequently occurred of all national or 
political importance. The insurgents generally 
manifested a disposition to return quietly to 
their homes, but a few, unable to resume at 


once habits of tranquil industry, continued to 
lurk in the hills and jungles of Chittagong, under 
the command of Ryngjang, a chief of Khyen- 
bran's party, who continued at large. At first, his 
band did not consist of more than thirty follow- 
^s, but it gradually increased to about a hun- 
dred, and with these he committed some preda- 
tory excesses, but solely upon the subjects of 
the British government ; being impelled to this 
conduct by the terror of a prison and the want 
of food- The depredations of this chief and his 
adherents were speedily checked by the activity 
of the magistrate, and in May 1816, were finally 
suppressed by the surrender of the chief. Their 
existence, however, furnished the court of Ava 
with no additional groimd of complaint, as they 
were restricted to the territories of the Company. 
The perfect immunity of the Burman frontier 
from aggression for a period of two years, and 
the repeated assurances of the British govern- 
ment of India that, as far as depended upon 
their officers, this desirable state of things should 
be perpetuated, might have satisfied the govern- 
ment of Ava of the sincerity of the pledge, and 
justified the expectation that amicable relations 
would be permanently formed. 


The second year, however, of the restoration 
of tranquiUity on the confines of the two states 
had not quite expired, when the demand for the 
surrender of the Mug refugees was renewed by 
the sou of the raja of Ramree, the governor of 
Arakan, who brought a letter from his father to 
that effect. The magistrate of Chittagong was 
directed to reply to the letter of the raja but 
the Governor General, the Marquis of Hastings, 
thought it advisable to address a letter to the 
viceroy of Pegu, in which it was stated, for 
the purpose of being communicated to the king 
of Ava, that "the British government could 
not, without a violation of the principles of 
justice, deliver up those who had sought its 
protection ; that the existing tranquillity and the 
improbable renewal of any disturbances rendered 
the demand particularly unseasonable ; and that 
whilst the vigilance of the British officers should 
be directed to prevent and punish any enterprize 
against the province of Arakan, it could lead to 
no advantageous result to either state to agitate 
the question of the delivery of the insurgents any 
further/' No notice was ever taken of this letter, 
and the silence of the court of Ava, for some 
time afterwards, confirmed the government of 



Bengal in the belief, that " there was not the 
least reason to suspect the existence or the 
future contemplation of any hostile design on 
the part of the Burmese government ;" in conse- 
quence of which impression, the government 
countermanded " the extraordinary preparations 
of defence against the Burmese, which had been 
adopted upon the general tenor of the intelli- 
gence obtained after the receipt of the communi- 
cation from Ramree, the knowledge possessed 
by government of the arrogant spirit of the court 
of Ava, and the extreme jealousy which it had 
always entertained of the protection granted by 
the British authorities to the emigrant Mugs."^ 

The impression thus entertained was by no 
means justified by the result, and after the ex- 
piration of another twelvemonth, a second letter 
was received from the raja of Ramree, making a 
demand, on the part of the king of Ava, for the 
cession of Ramoo, Chittagong, Moorshedabad, 
and Dacca, on the alleged ground of their being 
ancient dependencies of the kingdom of Arakan 
which was now annexed to the Burman domi- 
nions, and fiUed with extravagant and absurd 
menaces in the event of a refusal to comply with 
the requisition. A letter in reply was written to 



the viceroy of Pegu, treating this demand as the 
uuauthorised act of the raja of Ramree, and stating 
that *' if the Governor General could suppose it to 
liave been dictated by the king of Ava, the British 
government would be justified in considmng it as 
a di^laration of war." The letter from the Raja 
it may be obsened, was never disavowed, and 
\\w demands it conveyed, as well as the tone in 
w \\\A\ they were expressed, could not have em- 
auatod from a subordinate officer, if he had not 
luHM\ jm^Niously armed with the full authority 
of fho l\Mirt, Nor, in feet, was the demand 
»0<\\j\vfhor now, although now for the first time 
»hhs»U^\ ui^hI. The claim was repeatedly ad- 
\hh»'0»l both in public and private, as fer back 
♦»^ I fMK\ whou Oaptian Cox was at Amerapura, 
*\\\\\ W \\\\\ik\ ON on then have been familiar to the 
»l|i»**u«i«i4\nu \\f fho ^idmini^rrarion.' It wastiiere- 
lv*u» \\\\\ \\\\s uunuth\vris^:\l imperrinence (rf a pro- 
\ \\\^^}^\ ^y\\\^\\%\\\ but the expr^^stsion of sentiments 
IvHitt «uMi^hMUo\) b\ the goveimneni erf Ava» and 
Uvi^»iMH\» n« >No ^^h^U i^Ks^T^e. exp^tly avowed 
W \\\\m m\\ u^^^v im)x>nant of its functionaries. 
Wftjl m\ «Ko 4^lloiUM) of the govenmient <rf 
Ww\ ^iUxHi^Hl to iww eitteigent ccnside- 
in Whw 4^wrti?^ ihei^ is no doubt 


that a satisfactory explanation of so extraordinary 
a procedure would have been insisted on, or that 
the alternative would, as intimated by Lord 
Hastings, have then been war. 

The successftd termination of hostilities in 
central India was, perhaps, one cause of the sub- 
sequent silence of the Burmese government, but 
other reasons may be found in the death of the 
king of Ava, who expired in 1819; in the 
arrangements consequent upon the succession of 
the reigning prince, the active interference of 
the court of Ava in the politics of Asam, and 
the reduction of that country to its authority. 

The constitution of Asam comprised even to 
a greater extent than usual with Asiatic govern- 
ments, the seeds of civil dissension. Although the 
government was hereditary in the same family, the 
choice of a successor rested with the king, or the 
great council, or the persons of most authority in 
the state. These were also, for the greater part, 
hereditary, not only as to rank, but function, 
and the son of a minister ordinarily succeeded 
to his father's post. The chief ministers were 
three in number, the barputra gohain, the bara 
gohain, and the boora gohain ; next to these was 
the bar barua, or great secretary, and then came 


the phokuns and baruas, who filled the different 
public offices of the state, and were mostly sup- 
posed to have descended from the original com- 
panions of the founders of the ruhng dynasty ; 
in consequence of which they were entitled to 
the influence aind authority they enjoyed. 

Amidst these individuals, jealousy and in- 
trigue were always busy, and the annals of Asam 
present a singular picture of intestine discord. 
It was, however, between the rajas and the 
gohains that the principal struggle prevailed, in 
which the boora gohain had acquired an irresis- 
tible ascendency, and, subsequently to the year 
1796, usurped the sovereign authority, the raja 
being a mere cypher in his hands. 

Upon the death of raja Kamaleswar, in 1810, 
his brother, Chandra Kant, was raised by Pur- 
nanand, the boora gohain, to the throne ; but 
the new raja soon became impatient of the con- 
trol of a servant, and encouraged his adherents 
to enter into a conspiracy against his minister. 
The plot was, however, discovered : the raja was 
obliged to disavow all participation in it, and 
his adherents were put to death w^ith the most 
horrible cruelty. The bara phokun, who was 
one of the conspirators, made good his escape 


to Calcutta, where he applied, on behalf of his 
master to the British government. Meeting with 
but little encouragement in that quarter, he had 
recourse to the Burman envoys then at the 
Presidency, and accompanying them on their 
return to Ava, immediately prociu^d military 
succours. 6000 Burmas, and 8000 auxiliaries 
accompanied him to Asam, where the boora 
gohain had breathed his last two days before 
their arrival. The son of that minister, who 
succeeded to his father's station and ambition, 
retreated to Gohati on the approach of the Bur- 
mas, leaving the raja at Jorhath to welcome 
their arrival, and reward the activity of the bara 
phokun, by making him his minister. The Bur- 
mas were reimbursed their expenses, and dis- 
missed with honour/ find a female of the royal 
family was sent with valuable presents to Ame- 

The semces of the bara phokun were unable 
to protect him against the effects of court intrigue 
and the bara barua and bara gohain influenced 
Chandra Kant to put him treacherously to death, 
on which his friends and kindred fled to Ava. 
In the meantime the son of the late boora gohain, 
inheriting his father's resentment against the 
reigning raja, invited a prince of the royal family, 


lliiMiii-. «riv joiiuMl l»y considerable reinforce- 
„„.mU li.mi ,\vn. unaorMrngyecMahaBandoola, 
Ml. mIU. M ..|- Mink m»l militftry ability. Chandra 
Km..I ««^ il.«r.>.Urd a1 Mnhngar-ghat in an action 
in ulii.l. Im> .li-splnyotl groat personal bravery, 

I .,.in|M'll.',l to «vk safety once more in 

III,. I.I ||.> i.'limu.'d fn>m retiring to the Com- 
|,..iM •. I.1U1..11IW. but tho Burman commander, 
.mil. i|..iliiiH ll>t»« li.> would take that direction, I .t l.'li.r mul n message to the officer 

i.iiiiiii.iii.lini^ ».» Ilu' fivutior. stating, that al- 
lli.iii)(li II w.iM liis wish to nnnain on friendly 
Imi.h Willi lh»> Company, and to respect the 
Unlihli uulliorilics, vot. should protection be 
giviiu III I'lmudm Knut, ho had received orders 
to Ittlli.w hiui wliojvvor ho might go, and to 
takit hiiu by ^orl•^^ »»ut of tho l^ritish dominions. 
Although it was ui»t thought likely that these 
moimct^s would bo oufoivod, vet orders were, in 
cunseqiience, 8ent to the magistrate, that should 
Chandra Kant or any of his party appear within 
his district, they should be disarmed and sent to 
a distance, and measures were taken to strengthen 
the force on the frontier. In the meantime, a 
general feeling of insecurity prevailed amongst 
the inhabitants of Rungpore ; and on various oc- 


casiouSy parties of Burmas crossing the river, 
committed serious devastations within the British 
territory, burning a number of villages, and 
plundering and murdering the inhabitants, or 
carrying them off as slaves. These proceedings, 
when complained of, were disavowed, but no 
redress was obtained. 

The pretence of maintaining the lawful prince 
in possession of his throne was soon abandoned 
by the Burmas, and a chief of their own nation 
was appointed to the supreme authority in Asam. 
The vicinity of a powerful and ambitious neigh- 
bour was therefore substituted for a feeble and 
distracted state; and this proximity was the 
more a subject of reasonable apprehension, as, 
from the country being intersected by numerous 
rivers, and from the Burmas being equally pre- 
pared to combat by water as by land, it was at 
any time in their power to invade and plunder 
the British provinces, without its being possible 
to offer effective opposition, or to intercept their 
retreat, under the existing constitution of our 
defensive force. It was also to be anticipated, 
from the known pretensions of the Burmas, and 
the spirit they had invariably displayed, that it 
would not be long before they found some excuse 

10 SAB 

throne, were joined 

ments from Ava, iii 

an officer of rank 

Kant was defeatc 

in whieh he d 

aud was comp' 

flight. He r 

pany's territ 




though ' 

terms i 



to f<> 


-swhioU, diK'fly 

Uritish govorn- 

.1 for the injuries 

ill suflVnHl to siib- 

'rhis autii-ipatiun 

island in the Hnihiuu- 

-ii Hag had been erected. 

.iiirmas, the Hug thrown 

^'i-ce coHectvd ta maintain 

■.■.,'t appear that this ivmUiet 

l>iit sickness wenkening the 

VMim, andtlio rising of some of 

.-ngrossing their ntteiition, they 

I line from their iinwammtublc oii- 

rhey were, however, Ukely to re- 

M tit-never the opportunity was cou- 

.! II sense of insecurity coiild not fail 

. I'lained by the authorities in Asam, 

actual occurrence of war relieved the 

sion by the certainty of danger. 

lircatcning attitude of tlic Bnrmas, at 

xtreniity of the frontier, now rendered it 

it on the British government to advert 

ion which they likewise occupied in 

portion, and to take such mca- 

onee practicable for the defence 


of the eastern provinces. With this view they 
determined to accede to a requisition that had 
been some time under their consideration, and 
to take the principality of Kachar under British 
protection, by which arrangement they were en- 
abled to occupy the principal passes into the low 
lands of Sylhet, and thus effectively oppose the 
advance of the Burmas from the district of Mani- 
pur, which they had some short time previously 
reduced to their authority. 

In the beginning of the eighteenth century, 
Manipiu", a principaUty lying on the east of 
Kachar, and interposed between it and the pro- 
vinces of the Burman monarchy, engaged in suc- 
cessful hostiUties with the latter, and even occu- 
pied the capital. Family dissensions enfeebled 
the power of the principality, and Alompra 
avenged the disgrace which the Burmas had suf- 
fered by invading and devastating Manipur. In 
his distress the raja had recourse to Bengal, and 
in 1762 a treaty of alliance, offensive and de- 
fensive, was concluded between him and Mr. Ve- 
relst, in consequence of which six companies of 
sipahis were dispatched to his assistance, with 
the declared purpose of not only clearing Manipur 
of the enemy, but of subjugating the kingdom 


of the Burmas. The advance of the division was 
retarded by heavy rains, and its numbers were so 
much reduced by sickness, that it was recalled long 
before it had traversed Kachar. An attempt was 
made in the following year to renew the negotia- 
tion, but the difficulties of the enterprise were 
better understood, and the application was de- 
clined. The last raja. Jay Sing, who died about 
1799, left several sons, of whom the eldest, Harsha 
Chandra, succeeded. After a few years, he was 
put to death by the brother of one of his father's 
wives, but this chief was speedily slain by Madhu 
Chandra, the second son of the late raja. He 
was killed, after a reign of four or five years by 
his brother Chourjit, who then became raja. Of 
the remaining brothers, Marjit fled to the court 
of Ava, and Gambhir Singh continued in Mani- 
pur. After repeated alternations of reconcilia- 
tion and animosity, Marjit, having obtained a 
strong Burman force, invaded Manipur about 
1812, and succeeded in dispossessing his elder 
brother, and compelling him to fly. Chourjit 
took refuge first in Kachar, and subsequently in 
Jyntea. The youngest brother, Gambhir Singh, 
after residing with Marjit for a twelvemonth, 
it also expedient to leave the principality, 


and he entered into the service of Govinda Chan- 
dra, the raja of Kachar, by whom he was in- 
vested with the command of his troops. In 
1817, the new sovereign of Manipur invaded 
the neighbouring state of Kachar, on which the 
raja fled into Sylhet, and soUcited the aid of the 
British government, offering to hold his comitry 
under an acknowledgment of dependency. As 
these offers were declined, he had recourse to the 
brothers of the raja of Manipur, and invited 
Chourjit from Jyntea, promising to divide with 
him and Gambhir Singh, the territory of Kachar, 
as the price of their services. The succour of 
the two brothers, and the exertions of his 
own adherents, proved effectual, and Marjit was 
compelled to withdraw to Manipur. The alUes 
of the Kachar prince were eventually equally 
detrimental to his interests, and Chourjit and 
Gambhir Singh uniting their forces against Go- 
vinda Chandra, expelled him in 1820, from 
Kachar, and divided the country between them. 
Govinda Chandra again took refuge in the Com- 
pany's territories. Some time afterwards, pro- 
bably after the death of the king of Ava, Marjit 
was summoned to Amerapura, and declining to 
comply with the summons, a powerful Burman 


force was sent against him, which drove him from 
the country, and annexed Manipur to the Burman 
empire, connecting and concentrating its conquests 
in this direction. Marjit was received by his 
brothers in Kachar, with kindness, and a portion 
of their principality was assigned to him. The 
harmony did not last long, and Chourjit and 
Gambhir Singh disagreeing, the former was de- 
feated and fled into the Company's territories. 
On this occasion, Chourjit tendered his interest 
in Kachar to the Company. The Burmas taking 
advantage of these dissensions, now prepared to 
invade Kachar, on which both Marjit and Gamb- 
hir Singh hastened to invoke the support of the 
British government of India, and for the reasons 
above referred to, it was determined that Kachar, 
should be taken under the protection of the Com- 
pany. The same protection was extended upon 
his request, to the raja of Jyntea. Notwithstand- 
ing the intimation of these determinations to the 
Burmas, they persisted in their purpose of invad- 
ing Kachar, and thereby provoked the commence- 
ment of actual hostilities in that quarter, as will 
be hereafter noticed : in the meantime, the dis- 
cussions on the side of Chittagong had assumed 
a decided tone, and left the question of peace or 


war between the two states no longer a subject of 

The insolence of the Burma authorities in Ara- 
kan and the adjacent countries, had not been re- 
stricted to the extravagant menaces which have 
been noticed. Repeated instances of actual aggres- 
sion had still more distinctly marked either their 
intention of provoking hostiUties, or their in- 
difference as to their occurrence. The chief ob- 
jects of these acts of violence were the elephant 
hunters in the Company's employ, whom the 
Burmas seized, and carried off repeatedly, under 
the pretext that they were within the territories 
of the king of Ava ; ' a pretext that had never been 
urged throughout the long series of years, during 
which the Company's hunters had followed the 
chase in the jungles and hiUs of the eastern fron- 
tier. In May 1821, the Burmas carried off from 
the party employed in the Ramoo hills, the Daro- 
gah, the Jemadar, and twenty-three of their men, 
on whom they inflicted personal severities, and 
then threw them into confinement at Mungdoo, 
demanding from the prisoners a considerable simi 
for their ransom. 

In the following season, or February 1822, the 
outrage was reiterated; the party employed at 


the Keddah, was attacked by an armed force, 
dispersed, and six of the hunters were carried off 
to Arakan, where they were thrown into prison, 
and threatened with death, unless they paid a 
heavy ransom. The place whence these people 
were carried off was, undoubtedly, within the 
Company's territory, being considerably to the 
west of the Morasi rivulet, which, in 1794, had 
been acknowledged by the Burmas to separate 
the two states. Urgent appUcations were made 
therefore, to the raja of Arakan, to release the 
unfortunate captives, and a representation on the 
subject was made to the court of Ava, but no 
notice was taken of either application. Several 
of the people, after experiencing much ill usage, 
were released, but some died in captivity. The 
object of the Burmas was evidently to establish 
themselves by intimidation, upon the hilly and 
jungly tracts, which were calculated to afford 
them a ready and unexpected entrance into the 
level and cultivated portions of Chittagong. 

The same system of violence was adopted in 
another part of the Chittagong district, in order 
to maintain pretensions to territorial jurisdiction 
equally unfounded with those made upon the 
elephant grounds of Ramoo, in order establish 


the right of the Bxirmas to the whole extent of 
the Naf river, which, like all those along the coast, 
rises at no great distance inland, and flows by a 
narrow stream, until it approaches the sea, when 
it suddenly expands into an estuary more than a 
mile brood. The Burmas claimed the right of 
levying a toU upon all boats entering the mouth 
of the river, although upon the British side ; and 
on one occasion, in January 1823, a boat laden 
with rice having entered the river on the west or 
British side of the channel, was challenged by an 
armed Burman boat, which demanded duty. As 
the demand was unprecedented, the Mugs, who 
were British subjects, demurred payment, on which 
the Burmas fired upon them, killed the manjhee, 
or steersman, and then retired. This outrage 
was followed by reports of the assemblage of 
armed men on the Burman side of the river, for 
the purpose of destroying the villages on the 
British territory, and in order to provide against 
such a contingency, as well as to prevent the 
repetition of any aggression upon the boats traf- 
ficking on the Company's side of the river, the 
military guard at Tek Naf, or the mouth of the 
Naf, was strengthened from twenty to fifty men, 
of whom a few were posted on the adjoining 



island of Shahpuri ; a small islet or sand bank, 
at the mouth of the river on the British side, and 

only separated from the mainland by a narrow 
channel which was fordable at low water. 

The determination thus shown by the British 
authorities to maintain the integrity of their 
frontier was immediately resented by the Bur- 
mas, and the Mungdoo Ucherung, or police officer, 
to whom the conduct of these transactions was 
committed by the viceroy of Arakan, was urgent 
with the magistrate of Chittagong to withdraw 
the guard, asserting the right of the king of Ava 
to the island, and intimating his having authority 
from the viceroy to declare, that if the detach- 
ment was not immediately recalled, the conse- 
quence would be a war between the two countries. 

The raja of Arakan was therefore addressed on 
the subject, who replied by reiterating the demand 
for the concession of Shahpuri. In answer to his 
demand, the right of the Company was asserted, 
but at the same time a disposition to investigate 
the claim in a deliberate and friendly manner was 
expressed, and a proposal was made, that Com- 
missioners on the part of either government should 
be deputed in the ensuing cold season, to meet 
and determine all questions respecting the dis- 


puted territory on the borders. Before this reply 
could have reached the raja, however, he pro- 
ceeded to carry his threat of applying force into 
execution, under the express orders, as was care- 
fully promulgated, of his sovereign the king of 
Ava. A body of one thousand Burmas, under 
the raja of Ramree, landed on Shahpuri, on the 
night of the 24th September, attacked the British 
post and killed three, and wounded four, of the 
sipahees stationed there, and drove the rest off the 
island. The Burmas then returned to the main 

The act was reported to the Bengal govern- 
ment in a menacing letter from the raja of Arakan 
himself, stating that, imless the British govern- 
ment submitted quietly to this treatment, it 
would be followed by the like forcible seizure of 
the cities of Dacca and Moorshedabad. 

Notwithstanding the assertions of the Burmas 
that the island of Shahpuri had belonged to their 
government, the earliest records of the Chittagong 
jurisdiction showed that it had been always in- 
cluded in the British province, that it had been 
surveyed and measured by British officers, at 
different periods from 1801 to 1819, and that 
it had been repeatedly, although not uninter- 

c 2 


ruptedly, held by Mug individuals, under deeds 
from the collector's office ever since 1780. It 
lay on the British side of the main channel of 
the Naf, and the stream which separated it from 
the Chittagong shore was fordable at low water. 
With these facts in its favour, however, the 
British government invariably expressed its readi- 
ness to investigate the subject in a friendly 
manner ; which offer being met by the forcible 
eruption of the Burmas, placed them under the 
necessity of upholding their character, as well as 
vindicating their rights. 

It was not the value of the island of Shahpuri, 
which was in fact of little worth, being of small 
extent and affording only pasturage for cattle, 
that was in dispute : the reputation of the British 
government and the security of their subjects 
enjoined the line of conduct to be adopted, and 
in fact the mere possession of Shahpuri was 
clearly not the object of the Burman court. The 
island was avowedly claimed upon the very same 
pretext as the provinces of Chittagong, Dacca, 
and Moorshedabad, and its abandonment would 
have been an encouragenient of other and more 
serious demands. It was, therefore, no more 
than prudent to make a stand at once in this 


quarter, with the view of deterring the Burmese 
from the further prosecution of those encroach- 
ments, which they evidently projected. 

In order^ however, to avoid till the last possible 
moment, the necessity of hostihties, the goveni- 
ment of Bengal, dthough determined to asseii: 
their just pretensions, resolved to afford to the 
court of Ava an opportunity of avoiding any 
collision. With this intent, they resolved to 
consider the forcible occupation of Shahpuri, as 
the act of the local authorities alone, and ad- 
dressed a declaration to the Burman government 
recapitulating the past occurrences, and calling 
upon the court of Ava to disavow its officers 
in Arakan. The declaration was forwarded by 
ship to Rangoon with a letter addressed to the 
viceroy of Pegu. The tone of this dispatch was 
that of firmness, though of moderation, but when 
rendered into the Burmese language, it may, 
probably, have foiled to convey the resolved and 
concihatory spirit by which it was dictated, as 
subsequent information of the most authentic 
character established the fact of its having been 
misunderstood as a pusillanimous attempt to 
deprecate the resentment of the Burmese, and 
it was triumphantly appealed to at the court 


of Ava as a proof that the British government 
of India was reluctant to enter upon the contest, 
because it was conscious of possessing neither 
courage nor resources to engage in it with any 
prospect of success : it had no other eflTect, there- 
fore, than that of confirming the court of Ava 
in their confident expectation of re-annexing the 
eastern provinces of Bengal to the empire, if 
not of expelling the English from India alto- 

In the meantime, the island in dispute was 
re-occupied. Two companies of the 20th regi- 
ment, which had been forwarded from Calcutta, 
were landed on Shahpuri on the 21st November, 
and stockaded on the island ; no opposition was 
offered, nor did any Burmas appear. A pro- 
clamation was distributed at the same time, 
stating that the only object of the detachment 
was the re-occupation of the island, and that the 
intercourse of the people on the frontier should 
suffer no interruption from their presence^ The 
force left on the spot was two companies of the 
2nd battalion 20th regiment native infantry, 
and two field pieces, six pounders, on the stock- 
ade at Shahpuri ; one company at Tek Naf ; and 
the Planet, armed vessel, and three gun-T^oats, 


each carrying a twelve-pounder carronade, were 
stationed in the Naf. 

Although no resistance was offered to the 
occupation of the island, yet, a variety of con- 
current reports, and the unreserved declaration 
of the Burmese officers with whom communica- 
tions were entertained, made it evident that the 
result would be a war between the two states. 
Certain information also that the Burmas were 
collecting troops both in Asam and Arakan, and 
menaced an attack upon the different exposed 
points of the Company's frontier, rendered it 
necessary that the Bengal government should 
look to the occurrence of hostilities as an im- 
pending contingency. Under this impression the 
correspondence that had taken place was referred 
to the Commander-in-chief, Sir Edward Paget, 
who during the greater part of the time had been 
absent on his military tour in the upper pro- 
vinces. His excellency was also requested to 
take the subject into his consideration and pro- 
vide as he might think most advisable for the 
defence of the frontier, as well as for the system 
of offensive operations that might be expedient, 
should war between the two states become in- 


In reply to this communication the Comman- 
der-in-chief suggested that for the defence of 
the eastern frontier, three brigades should be 
formed, to consist of three thousand men each, 
to be stationed at Chittagong, Jamulpore, and 
Goalpara, and a strong corps of reserve to be 
posted under a senior commanding officer in 
Dinagepore, to which all communications should 
be made, and from whence all orders should be 
issued. His excellency also urged the forma- 
tion of an efficient flotilla on the Brahmapootra, 
towards Asam, and in the vicinity of Dacca. 
The course of operations on the frontier he re- 
commended should be strictly defensive, or at the 
utmost limited to the re-establishment of the states 
subdued by the Burmese; while the offensive 
system, which was likely to be the only effectual 
mode of punishing the insolence of the Burmas, 
was an attack by sea on such points of their 
coast as should offer the best prospect of success. 
In a subsequent despatch, in reply to a further 
communication from the supreme government, 
his excellency declared his conviction that the 
conduct of the Burmas had rendered hostilities 
inevitable; and reported the dispositions which 
had been made for the defence of the eastern 


frontier ; and the views adopted by the members 
of government at the presidency, being thus 
confirmed by the sentiments of the Commander- 
in-chief, arrangements were adopted for carrying 
on the war upon the principles in which he had 

In the end of October, information was re- 
ceived by the commissioner of the north east 
frontier, that the Burmas were concentrating their 
troops in Asam for a military expedition, which in 
the first instance was intended for Kachar, and, 
according to general report, eventually against the 
British territories. Instructions were sent to the 
commissioner to lose no time in apprising the 
Burman government of Asam, that Kachar was 
placed under British protection, and warning it 
to abstain from any project of molesting that 
country, and that any attempt against it would 
be regarded as an act of hostility, and communi- 
cations were accordingly made by him repeatedly 
to that eflfect to the authorities in Asam. A 
force was also advanced from Dacca to Sylhet, 
consisting part of the 1st battalion of the 10th 
(14th)^ native infantry, three companies of the 
2nd battalion of the 23rd (46th) native infantry, 



four companies of the Rungpore local corps, and 
a few guns ; divisions of which, under Captains 
Johnstone and Bowe, and Major Newton, were 
posted at Bhadrapur, Jatrapur, and Talain, in 
advance of the Sylhet frontier, and covering that 
station against an attack from either of the 
directions in which it was menaced. 

These arrangements were scarcely matured, 
when events justified their policy. The Burman 
armies, notwithstanding the representations of 
the commissioner in Asam, entered Kachar in 
different directions, and it became necessary to 
resist their progress, before they occupied posi- 
tions which would give them the command of the 
Sylhet frontier, where their eruption into Kachar 
had already spread a general panic, and inflicted 
much serious mischief, causing many of the Ryots 
to abandon their homes, and putting a stop to 
cultivation. As it was evident that there was 
Uttle hope of attention being paid to any re- 
presentation or remonstrance, the British oflScers 
were instructed by the civil authority to oppose 
the advance of the Burmas by force, and hostilities 
speedily ensued. 

In the early part of January, a force of about 


four thousand Burmas and Asamese advanced 
from Asam into the province of Kachar, to the 
foot of the Bherteka pass, and began to stockade 
themselves at Bikrampore. IntelUgence was also 
received that the troops under Gambhir Singh had 
been defeated by a Burma force from Manipur, 
and that a third Burma division was crossing into 
Jyntea, immediately to the north of the station 
of Sylhet. It was therefore judged advisable by 
Major Newton, the officer commanding on the 
Sylhet frontier, to concentrate his detachment at 
Jatrapur, a Kachar village about five miles beyond 
the boundaries of Sylhet, and thence advance 
against the invading party from Asam, before 
they should have time to complete their entrench- 
ments. The British division accordingly marched 
at two A.M. on the 17th January, 1824, and at 
day-break came in sight of the stockade, whence 
a few shots were fired upon the advanced guard. 
An attack upon the position was immediately 
made in two divisions, one commanded by Cap- 
tain Johnstone, upon the south face of the stockade, 
and the other imder Captain Bowe, upon the 
village adjoining. The Burmas in the village 
presently gave way, but those in the stockade 
made a resolute resistance. The Burmas lost 


■> - ■» ^ ■»■«■ 


about a hundred men, whilst six sipahis were 
killed on the part of the British. Those of the 
enemy who escaped fled to the hills, and as the 
strength of the British detachment did not admit 
of active pursuit, the fugitives soon rallied and 
effected their junction with the troops from Ma- 

Shortly after the action of the 1 7th January, 
the commissioner, Mr. Scott, arrived at Sylhet, 
and thence advanced to Bhadrapur, to maintain a 
more ready communication with the Burman 
authorities. On the 31st of January, a messenger 
sent by the magistrate, returned to camp, and from 
his information, as well as a letter previously re- 
ceived, it appeared, that the Burman generals pro- 
fessed to have advanced into Kachar upon an ap- 
plication formerly made by the ex-raja, Govind 
Chandra, for assistance, and that they had orders to 
follow and apprehend Chourjit, Marjit, and Gamb- 
hir Singh, wherever they might have taken refuge. 
In reply, a letter was addressed to the General 
commanding in Asam, stating that the English go- 
vernment had no objection to the re-establishment 
of Govind Chandra under their own protection, 
but that the interference of a Burman army for this 
purpose could not be permitted : that although 


the Manipur chiefs could not be delivered up, 
they should be prevented from disturbing the 
tranquiUity of the province, and finally, the Bur- 
mas were required to evacuate the country, or 
the forces of the British government would be 
compelled to advance both into Kachar and Asam. 
It was also intimated, that any attempt upon Jyn- 
tea, which it was known was in contemplation, 
would be resisted. A letter had, in fact, been 
addressed by the commander of the Asam force 
to the raja of Jyntea, calling upon him and his 
ministers, whoever they might be, to bow in sub- 
mission and send offerings, and ordering the raja 
to come to the Burmese camp. The raja had, ac- 
cordingly, thrown himself upon the British govern- 
ment for protection. 

To these communications no answer was re- 
ceived, the Burman commander declaring he could 
give none, until he had received instructions from 
Ava. The messengers sent by the commissioner 
were also detained for a considerable period in 
the Burmese camp under different pretexts, and it 
was evidently the object of the Burmas to pro- 
crastinate the negociations, until they had 
strengthened themselves in the position they oc- 
cupied, which they might then hope to maintain 



until the state of the weather rendered it impos- 
sible to act against them with advantage. 

Subsequently to the action of the 17th January, 
Major Newton returned with the force under his 
command, to Sylhet, withdrawing the whole of 
the troops from Kachar. The Burmas then ad- 
vanced to Jatrapur, about five miles east of the 
frontier, and eight miles from Bhadrapur, where 
the two divisions from Asam and Manipur having 
united, erected stockades on either bank of the 
Surma, connecting them by a bridge across the 
river. Their united force amounted to about six 
thousand, of whom four thousand were Asamese 
and Kacharees : a detachment of two thousand 
more was posted at Kila Kandy, in the south-east 
quarter of Kachar. The main body of the Bur- 
mas proceeded to push their stockades on the 
north bank of the Surma, to within one thousand 
yards of the British post at Bhadrapur, where 
Captain Johnstone commanded, having under him 
a wing of the 10th (14th) native infantry the third 
company of 23rd (46th), and a small party of the 
Rungpore local corps. With these he determined 
to dislodge the enemy before the entrenchments 
were completed, and having the concurrence of 
the commissioner, he moved against them on the 


1 3th of February. Having divided his small force 
into two parties, one under Captain Bowe crossed 
the river, whilst the other, under his own com- 
mand, proceeded higher up. Finding it unlikely 
to prevail upon the Burmas to discontinue their 
arrangements, by amicable expostulation. Captain 
Johnstone ordered the columns to attack. The 
Burmas fired as they advanced, but the troops 
pressed on without hesitation, and drove the 
enemy from their unfinished works at the point 
of the bayonet. The Asam division of the Bur- 
mas, fell back upon the Bherteka pass and the 
Jetinghi river, whilst the Manipur force stockaded 
itself at Doodpatlee. 

With the view to expel the former of these 
detachments altogether from Kachar, Lieutenant- 
Colonel Bowen, who had joined, and taken the 
command, marched in pursuit of the retreating 
enemy. They were found at the foot of the 
Bherteka pass, stockading themselves in a strong 
position on the opposite bank of the Jetinghi 
river. The stream being deep and rapid, a pas- 
sage was effected with some difficulty, and after 
a division of the force had crossed, it was found 
that a rivulet opening into the stream rendered 
an advance along the bank impracticable. It 



was therefore necessary to make a detour through 
the thick jungle, which was accomplished only 
with great exertion ; but the passage to the 
north-east angle of the stockade being at last 
effected, the troops formed, and carried it with 
the bayonet. The enemy fled to the hills, and 
left no further force in the direction of Asam to 
be encountered. 

There still remained, however, the Manipur 
division to be expelled, and with this object 
Lieutenant-colonel Bowen directed his march 
against their position at Doodpatlee, which 
proved to be much stronger than any yet as- 
sailed. The Burmas were stockaded on the 
north bank of the Surma river. Their rear rested 
on steep hills. Each face of the entrenchment 
was defended by a deep ditch, about fourteen 
feet wide : a fence of bamboo spikes was con- 
structed along the outer edge, and the approach 
on the land side was through jungle and high 
grass. After the post had been reconnoitered, 
and the three field-pieces with the detachment 
had been brought to bear upon it with consider- 
able effect, the commanding officer directed the 
assault to be made upon the western front. The 
Burmas remained passive till the troops advanced 



to the spikes, when they poured upon them a de- 
structive and well-maintained fire, which checked 
the advance of the assailants, although they kept 
their ground. After being exposed to this fire 
for some time, and, as it appeared, with no hope 
of advantage, the attempt was abandoned. The 
force was withdrawn to Jatrapur. Four officers 
were wounded, two severely; Lieutenant Arm- 
strong, of the 10th, was killed, and about one 
hundred and fifty sipahis were killed and wounded. 
On the 27th February, Colonel Innes joined the 
force at Jatrapur, with four guns, and the 1st 
battalion of the 19th regiment (38th), and as- 
sumed the command. In the meantime the 
Burmas retreated from the position at Doodpat- 
lee, and fell back to Manipur, so that Kachar 
was freed from the presence of an enemy. As 
there seemed little reason to apprehend their 
speedy return in force, and the nature of the 
country rendered it difficult to procure suppKes 
for any number of troops for a protracted period, 
it was thought sufficient to leave a detachment of 
the Rungpore local infantry in Kachar, whilst 
the main body went into cantonments at Sylhet. 
While these events were taking place in Ka- 
char, the occurrences in the southern extremity 


of the frontier partook of the same character, 
and equally indicated the determination of the 
government of Ava to provoke hostihties. Early 
in January, the British detachment stationed on 
the island of Shahpuri was withdrawn, in con- 
sequence of the unhealthiness of the post, and, 
at the same time, intimation was conveyed to the 
raja of Arakan, that two British officers, Mr. Ro- 
bertson, the civil commissioner, and Captain 
Cheap, had arrived at Tek Naf, where they were 
ready, under the orders of their government, to 
meet any persons the raja might depute, for the 
purpose of defining and settling the boundary. 
The raja sent four persons to meet the British 
authorities with a letter, demanding the uncon- 
ditional surrender of the island ; and his envoys, 
in the conferences that ensued, declared they 
would not enter upon any conversation respect- 
ing boundary, until the island was acknowledged 
to belong to the king of Ava, or at least allowed 
to be considered as neutral, and to be occupied 
by neither power. As this demand was not at 
once submitted to, they returned to Arakan, 
where it had been ascertained that a considerable 
force had been assembled under the four rajas, 
under whose several jurisdiction the province of 


Arakan was divided. These were shortly after- 
wards placed under the supreme command of 
Maha Bundoola, the chief military officer of 
the state, who quitted Ava early in January, to 
take the supreme command, both civil and mili- 
tary in Arakan, and brought with him consider- 
able reinforcements. Shortly prior to his arrival, 
however, four individuals, said to have been de- 
puted by the court of Ava, arrived at Mungdoo, 
and under their authority a wanton outrage was 
perpetrated, which could only tend to precipitate 
the commencement of the war. When the sipahis 
were withdrawn from Shahpuri, the Honourable 
Company's pilot-vessel Sophia was ordered to 
join the gun-boats off that island, to serve in 
some degree as a substitute for the troops that 
had been removed. Upon the arrival of the 
deputies, or wuzeers, at Mungdoo, on the oppo- 
side bank of the Naf, they invited the command- 
ing officer of the Sophia on shore, under the 
pretext of communicating with him amicably on 
the state of affairs, and on his unguardedly ac- 
cepting the invitation, they seized him, and an 
officer and the native seamen who accompanied 
him, and sent them prisoners to Arakan, where 
they were threatened with detention until the 


chief Mug insurgents should be delivered in ex- 
change. Mr. Chew, the commander of the Sophia, 
was kept at Arakan from the 20 th January to the 
13th February, when he was sent back, with his 
companions and some natives of Chittagong, to 
Mungdoo. The alleged motive of this seizure 
was, the removal of the vessel from its anchorage 
off Shahpuri, and the act was no doubt intended 
as one of intimidation. In a similar light might 
be considered the circumstance of the Burman 
agents crossing from Mungdoo to Shahpuri, and 
planting the flag of Ava on the island. This 
was a bravado little worthy of notice, and was 
only important as displayed after the arrival of 
Maha Bundoola, and, consequently, indicative 
of the spirit by which he was likely to be actu- 
ated ; but the forcible arrest of an officer in the 
British service, was a national insult that could 
not be suffered to pass without apology or excuse, 
neither of which it was likely would be tendered. 
As the two states might now be considered as 
actually, although not declaredly, at war, the 
British government, agreeably to the usage of 
civilized nations, promulgated the groimds of 
their recourse to hostile measures, in a declara- 
tion addressed to the court of Ava, and the dif- 


ferent powers of India, and in a public proclama- 
tion, dated the 5th March. In these documents, 
the causes of the war were declared to be the 
acts of encroachment and aggression, so perse- 
veringly committed on the south-east frontier, 
the attack upon the post of Shahpuri, the arrest 
of a British officer and crew, the invasion of 
Kachar, and the menaces addressed to the 
Jyntea raja, and the tacit approbation of the con- 
duct of their officers by the court of Ava, which 
evinced a determination not only to withhold all 
explanation and atonement for past injuries, but 
to prosecute projects of the most extravagant and 
mischievous ambition, pregnant with serious dan- 
ger to the British government. The proclamation 
was speedily followed by a commimication from 
Pegu, in reply to that addressed to the court of 
Ava in the preceding November, which might be 
considered as a counter-manifesto, as it declared, 
in terms of singular arrogance, that the governors 
on the frontier had full power to act, and that 
until everything was settled, a communication 
need not be made to the " golden feet." 

The war being now formally declared by the 
British government, and virtually announced by 
the court of Ava, measures were taken at once 


of the KuUung with that river. The Burmas 
stockaded at Hautbur, pursued their previous 
system of not waiting for an attack, but deserted 
the stockade, and retired to Ranghgher, a ppgt 
at the distance of about eight hours' march. A 
small party, however, having returned to re- 
occupy the Hautbur stockade, were surprised by 
Lieutenant Richardson, with a resala of horse, 
and a company of infantry. The surprise was 
effectual. The enemy, in attempting to escape, 
fell upon the horse, by whom about twenty were 
killed, besides a phokun, or officer of rank. 

Whilst the main body of the detachment con- 
tinued at Kaliabur, a small party was left under 
Captain Horsburgh, in the stockade of Hautbur 
on the Kullung, at a short distance from its 
junction with the main stream. The Burmas 
exhibited, on this occasion, the only proof of 
enterprise which they had yet displayed in the 
campaign in Asam, and advancing from their 
entrenchment at Rangligher, they attempted to 
cut off Captain Horsburgh and his division. 
Their advance was, however, seasonably ascer- 
tained, and arrested by the picquet, until the 
whole detachment could form. Upon Captain 
Horsburgh's approach with the infantry, the 


Burmas fled, but the irregular horse, which had 
been sent into their rear, having intercepted the 
retreat of about two hundred, a great number of 
them were sabred on the spot, or drowned in 
crossing the Kullung. After this repulse, they 
abandoned the Ranghgher stockade, and retro- 
graded to Maura Mookh, where their chief force, 
now not exceeding one thousand men, was posted 
under the governor of Asam. Colonel Richards 
having succeeded to the command, upon the 
death of Brigadier McMorine, of cholera, early 
in May, established his head-quarters at Kalia- 
bur ; but upon the setting in of the rains, it 
was found necessary to retire to Gohati, in order 
to secure the receipt of supphes. The operations 
of the first campaign in Asam were closed by a 
successful attack upon a stockade on the north 
bank of the Brahmaputra, by Captain Wallace ; 
the enemy had time to escape, but the stockade 
was destroyed. The general result of the opera- 
tions was decidedly favourable, and the British 
authority was established over a considerable 
tract of country between Goalpara and Gohati. 
It is Hkely, however, that had an advance like 
that made by Colonel Richards in April, been 
authorised a few weeks sooner, the Burmas might 

D 2 


have been expelled from a still greater portion of 
Asam ; their force in this country never having 
been formidable, either in numbers or equipment. 

In prosecution of the offensive system of opera- 
tions, a powerful force was fitted out by the presi- 
dencies of Bengal and Madras, destined to reduce 
the islands on the Coast of Ava, and to occupy 
Rangoon, and the country at the mouth of the 
Irawadi river. The Bengal armament left the 
Hooghly in the beginning of April. Their fur- 
ther proceedings we shall hereafter notice, in order 
to keep the course of them entire, and in the mean 
time shall terminate the military transactions on 
the British frontier. 

It has been already noticed, that a large Burman 
force had been assembled in Arakan, under the 
command of the chief military officer of the state 
of Ava, Maha Mengyee Bundoola, an officer who 
enjoyed a high reputation, and the entire confi- 
dence of the court, and who had been one of the 
most strenuous advisers of the war, in the ftdl 
confidence, that it would add a vast accession of 
power to his country and glory to himself. His 
head-quarters were estabhshed at Arakan, where, 
probably, from ten to twelve thousand Burmas 
were assembled. Early in May, a division of this 


force crossed the Naf, and advanced to Rutnapul- 
lung, about fourteen miles south from Ramoo, 
where they took up their position, and gradually 
concentrated their force, to the extent of about 
eight thousand men, under the command of the 
four rajas of Arakan, Ramree, Sandaway, and 
Cheduba, assisted by four of the inferior mem- 
bers of the royal council, or atwenwoons, and. act- 
ing under the orders of Bundoola, who remained 
at Arakmi- 

Upon information being received of the Burmas 
having appeared, advancing upon Rutnapullung, 
Captain Noton moved from Ramoo with the whole 
of his disposable force to ascertain the strength 
and objects of the enemy. On arriving near their 
position, upon some hills on the left of the road, 
in which the Burmas had stockaded themselves, 
they opened a smart fire upon the detachment, 
which, however, cleared the hills, and formed upon 
a plain beyond them. In consequence, however, 
of the mismanagement of the elephant drivers, and 
the want of artillery details, the guns accompany- 
ing the division, could not be brought into action, 
and as without them, it was not possible to make 
any impression on the enemy. Captain Noton 
judged it prudent to return to his station at Ra- 


moo, where he was joined by three companies of 
the 40th native infantry, making his whole force 
about one thousand strong, of whom less than 
half were regulars. With these. Captain Noton 
determined to await at Ramoo, the approach of 
the Burmas, until the arrival of reinforcements 
from Chittagong. 

On the morning of the 13th of May, the enemy 
advanced from the south, and occupied, as they 
arrived, the hills east of Ramoo, being separated 
from the British force by the Ramoo river. On 
the evening of the 14th, they made a demonstra- 
tion of crossing the river, but were prevented by 
the fire from the two six-pounders with the de- 
tachment. On the morning of the 15 th, however, 
they effected their purpose, and crossed the river 
upon the left of the detachment, when they ad- 
vanced, and took possession of a tank, surrounded 
as usual with tanks in this situation, by a high 
embankment, which protected them from the fire 
of their opponents. Captain Noton drew up his 
force behind a bank about three feet high, com- 
pletely surrounding the encampment. Upon his 
right hand, and about sixty paces in front to the 
eastward was a tank, at which a strong picquet 
was posted, and his right flank was also pro- 


tected by the river. On his left, and somewhat 
to the rear, was another tank, at which he sta- 
tioned the provincials and* Mug levy. The re- 
gular sipahis were posted with the six-pounders 
on his front, or along the eastern face of the em- 
bankment. From this face a sharp fire was kept 
upon the Burmas as they crossed the plain to the 
tank, but they availed themselves with such 
dexterity of every kind of cover, and so expedi- 
ditiously entrenched themselves, that it was much 
less effective than was to have been expected. 

Information having been received on the 1 5th, 
that the left wing of the battalion of the 23rd 
native infantry had left Chittagong on the 13 th, 
and its arrival being therefore looked for on the 
following day. Captain Noton was confirmed in 
his intention of remaining at his post, although 
the Burmas were in very superior numbers, and 
were evidently gaining ground. Several of the 
officers were wounded, and the provincials had 
manifested strong indications of insubordination 
and alarm. 

On the morning of the 16th, the Burmas, it 
was found, had considerably advanced their 
trenches. The firing was maintained on both 
sides throughout the day, but no important 


change in the relative position of the two parties 
was eflFected. The officer in command of the 
guns, however, was disabled, and it was with 
some difficulty that the provincials were intimi- 
dated from the desertion of their post ; a retreat 
was still practicable, but a reliance upon the 
arrival oi the expected reinforcement, unfortu- 
nately prevented the adoption of the only measure 
which could now afford a chance of preserving 
the lives of the officers and men. 

On the morning of the 17th, the enemy's 
trenches were advanced within twelve paces of 
the picquets; and a heavy and destructive fire 
was kept up by them. At about nine a.m. the 
provincials and Mug levy abandoned the tank 
entrusted to their defence, and it was immedi- 
ately occupied by the enemy. The position 
being now untenable, a retreat was ordered, and 
effected with some regularity for a short distance. 
The increasing numbers and audacity of the 
pursuers, and the activity of a small body of 
horse attached to their force, by whom the men 
that fell off from the main body were instantly 
cut to pieces, filled the troops with an imgovern- 
able panic, which rendered the exertions of their 
officers to preserve order unavailing. These 


efforts, however, were persisted in, until the 
arrival of the party at a rivulet, when the de- 
tachment dispersed, and the sipahis throwing 
away their arms and accoutrements, plunged 
promiscuously into the water. In the retreat, 
Captains Noton, Trueman, and Pringle, Lieu- 
tenant Grigg, Ensign Bennet, and Assistant-sur- 
geon Maysmore were killed. The other officers 
engaged. Lieutenants Scott, Campbell, and Cod- 
rington, made their escape, but the two former 
were wounded : the loss in men was not ascer- 
tained, as many of them found their way after 
some interval, and in small numbers, to Chitta- 
gong : according to official returns between six 
and eight hundred had reached Chittagong by 
the 23rd May, so that the whole loss in killed 
and taken, did not exceed probably two hundred 
and fifty. Many of those taken prisoners were 
sent to Ava, where they served to confirm the 
arrogant belief of the court in the irresistible 
prowess of their troops, and their anticipations 
of future triumph. The defeat of the detach- 
ment at Ramoo, was also the source of great 
uneasiness at Chittagong and Dacca, and the 
panic spread even to Calcutta, where, however 
absurd the supposition, it was thought by many 

D 3 


not impossible that the enemy might penetrate 
through the Sunderban forest to the metropolis 
of British India. Weak as was the force at 
Chittagong, a rapid advance of the Burmas might 
have compelled its retreat ; and Chittagong and 
perhaps Dacca might have been exposed to hostile 
depredation. All anxiety, however, was soon 
allayed, by the evident want of enterprise in the 
victors, and by confidence in the measures im- 
mediately taken to oppose the remote possibility 
of their further advance. Colonel Shapland was 
speedily reinforced to an extent that placed the 
frontier out of danger, had the Burmas shown 
any inclination to prosecute their success. With 
exception, however, of an advance to Chekeria, 
whence they soon retrograded, the capture of 
the small post at Tek Naf, and an unsuccessful 
attempt to cut off the Vestal cruiser and the gun- 
boats in the river, the Burman general under- 
took no other military operations in this quarter, 
and was shortly after recalled, with the most 
effective portion of his force, for the defence of 
the provinces of Ava. By the end of July the 
Burmas had abandoned all their positions to the 
north of the Naf. 

The absence of the British troops from Kachar 


and the system of active operations apparently 
adopted at this period by the court of Ava, seem 
to have induced the Burmas to renew their in- 
vasion of that province. They advanced from 
Manipur, and resumed their position upon the 
heights of Talain, Doodpatlee, and Jatrapiu*. 
The force that occupied these positions, was 
estimated at about eight thousand men, and 
it was given out that they formed the van of 
an army of fifteen thousand destined by the 
court of Ava to march upon the frontier in this 

In consequence of the apprehensions excited 
for the safety of Chittagong and Dacca, after 
the defeat at Ramoo, the force at Sylhet had, in 
the first instance, moved from the latter station 
towai'ds the south. The alarm having subsided, 
the movement was countermanded, and Colonel 
Innes returned to Sylhet on the 12th of June, 
with the troops under his command, amounting 
to above twelve hundred men, with which he 
again proceeded to Kachar to expel the invaders, 
after resting a few days at Sylhet, from the 
fatigues to which the period of the year, and 
the inundated state of the country had exposed 
the troops. On the 20th June, Colonel Innes 
arrived at Bhadrapur, from whence he pro- 


ceeded by water, along the Barak river to Jat- 
rapur, where, with considerable difficulty, he 
arrived on the 27th. On the route, an oppor- 
tunity offered to reconnoitre the position of the 
enemy on the heights of Talain, where they were 
strongly stockaded, and it was determined to 
attempt to dislodge them from their post. With 
this view part of the force was landed, and a 
battery of two howitzers and four six-pounders 
erected on a rising ground, about six hundred 
yards on the south-west of the stockade, which 
opened on the 6th July ; as the guns, how^ever, 
made but little impression at the distance at 
which they were placed, they were removed on 
the 7th to an eminence nearer to the stockade, 
the occupation of which was spiritedly, though 
unsuccessfully, opposed by the enemy. On the 
8th, however, they assembled in force upon the 
heights in rear of and commanding the battery, 
dislodging the party of raja Gambhir Singh's 
men who had been stationed on the hills for its 
protection, and frustrating, by their superior 
numbers an attempt made to turn their flank : 
it was therefore found necessary to bring off the 
gims, and as the troops were exhausted by the 
fatiguing service they had undergone, and the 
season was becoming every day more unfavourable 


for military operations, it was determined to fall 
back to Jatrapur, to which the troops accordingly 
retired. The increasing sickness of the men, 
induced by constant exposure to the rain in the 
midst of a country abounding with swamp and 
jungle, compelled a retreat to a more healthy 
situation, and the force was disposed along the 
river near to Bhadrapur, either in boats or in 
elevated situations on the banks. The Burmas 
remained in their entrenchments, being, in fact, 
confined to them by the rise of the rivers ; and 
no further movements took place on either side 
during the continuance of the rains. 

We have thus terminated the first period of 
the system of defensive operations, and shall 
now proceed to the more important enterprises 
of an offensive war, to which those we have 
noticed were wholly subordinate. The results 
of the operations described were of a mixed 
description, but such as to leave no question of 
the issue of the contest. In Asam a consider- 
able advance had been made. In Kachar also, 
a forward position had been maintained, although 
the nature of the country, the state of the weather, 
and the insufficiency of the force, prevented the 
campaign from closing with the success with 


which it had begun. The disaster at Ramoo, 
although it might have been avoided perhaps by 
a more decided conduct on the part of the officer 
commanding, and would certainly have been 
prevented by greater promptitude than was 
shown in the despatch of the expected reinforce- 
ments, reflected no imputation upon the courage 
of the regular troops, and, except in the serious 
loss of lives, was wholly destitute of any im- 
portant consequences. In all these situations 
the Burmas had displayed neither personal in- 
trepidity nor military skill. Their whole system 
of warfare resolved itself into a series of entrench- 
ments which they threw up with great readiness 
and ingenuity. Behind these defences they 
sometimes displayed considerable steadiness and 
courage, but as they studiously avoided individual 
exposure they were but little fonnidable in the 
field as soldiers. Neither was much to be ap- 
prehended from the generalship that suffered the 
victory of Ramoo to pass away without making 
the slightest demonstration of a purpose to im- 
prove a crisis of such splendid promise, and 
which restricted the fruits of a battle gained to 
the construction of a stockade. 


The difficulty of collecting a sufficient force 
for a maritime expedition from Bengal, owing 
to the repugnance which the sipahis entertain 
to embarking on board vessels, where their pre- 
judices expose them to many real privations, had 
early led to a communication with thQ presidency 
of Fort Saint George, where there existed no 
domestic call for a large force, and where the 
native troops were ready to undertake the voyage 
without reluctance. The views of the supreme 
government were promptly met by Sir Thomas 
Munro, the governor of Madras, and a consider- 
able force was speedily equipped. The like 
activity pervaded the measures of the Bengal 
authorities, and by the beginning of April the 
whole was ready for sea. 

The period of the year at which this expe- 
dition was fitted out, was recommended by 
various considerations of local or political weight. 
Agreeably to the information of all nautical men, 
a more favourable season for navigating the 
coast to the eastward could not be selected, and 
from the account given by those who had visited 
Ava, it appeared, that the expedition upon arriving 
at Rangoon would be able to proceed into the 
interior without delay; the rising of the river 



and the prevalence of a south-easterly wind 
rendering June or July the most eligible months 
for an enterprise which could only be effected 
by water conveyance, by which it was asserted 
that a ^uflBicient force might be conveyed to Ama- 
rapura, the capital, a distance of five hundred 
miles, in the course of a month or five weeks. ^° 
That no time should be lost in compeUing the 
Burmas to act upon the defensive, was also 
a'pparent, as by the extent of their preparations 
in Arakan, Asam and Kachar, they were evidently 
manifesting a design to invade the frontier with 
a force that would require the concentration of 
a large body of troops for the protection of 
the British provinces in situations where moun- 
tains, streams and forests, could not fail to 
exercise a destructive influence upon the physical 
energies of the ofiicers and men, and would neces- 
sarily prevent the full development of the military 
resources of the state. To have remained through- 
out the rains, therefore, wholly on the defensive, 
would have been attended, it was thought, with 
a greater expense, and, under ordinary circum- 
stances, with a greater sacrifice of lives than an 
aggressive movement, as well as with some com- 
promise of national reputation. The armament. 


therefore, was equipped at once, and was not 
slow in realising some of the chief advantages 
expected from its operations. 

The Bengal force was formed of His Majesty's 
38th and 13th regiments, of the second battahon 
of the 20th (now 40th) native infantry, and two 
companies of European artillery, amounting in 
all to two thousand one hundred and seventy-five 
fighting men. The Madras force, in two divi- 
sions, consisting of Her Majesty's 41 st and 89th * 
regiment, the Madras European regiment, seven 
battaUons of native infantry, and four companies 
of artillery, besides golandaz, gun lascars, and 
pioneers, amounted altogether to nine thousand 
and three hundred fighting men, making a total 
of eleven thousand four hundred and seventy-five 
fighting men of all ranks, of whom nearly five 
thousand were Europeans. In addition to the 
transports, the Bengal force comprised a flotilla 
of twenty gun-brigs, and as many row-boats, 
carrying one eighteen-pounder each. The Ben- 
gal fleet was also accompanied by his Majesty's 
sloops Lame, Capt. Marryatt, and Sophia, Capt. 
Ryves, by several of the Company's cruisers, 
and the Biana steam boat. Major-general Sir 
A. Campbell, K.C.B., was appointed to the com- 


town itself, is defended by an enclosure of pali- 
sades ten or twelve feet high, strengthened inter- 
nally by embankments of earth, and protected 
externally on one side by the river, and on the 
other three sides by a shallow creek or ditch, 
communicating with the river, and expanding at 
the western end into a morass crossed by a 
bridge. The palisade incloses the whole of the 
town of Rangoon in the shape of an irregular 
parallellogram, having one gate in each of three 
feces, and two in that of the north ; at the river 
gate is a landing-place, denominated the king's 
wharf, in which situation the principal battery 
was placed, and opposite to which the Liffey 
came to anchor about two p. m. After a short 
pause, a fire was opened on the fleet, but was 
very soon silenced by the guns of the frigate. 
In the meantime, three detachments were landed 
from the transports, of his Majesty's 38th regi- 
ment, under Major Evans, above the town, 
and his Majesty's 41st, under Colonel McBean 
below it, whilst Major Sale, with the light in- 
fantry of the 13 th, was directed to attack the 
river gate, and carry the main battery. These 
measures were successful. The Biirmas fled 
from the advance of the troops, and in less than 


twenty minutes the town was in the undisputed 
possession of the British. Whilst the divisions 
were moving to the shore, Mr. Hough, an Ameri- 
can missionary, came on board the lAffey, ac- 
companied by a native officer, having been de- 
puted by the raywoon to demand the object of 
the attack made upon the town, and intimating 
that, unless the firing ceased, the lives of the 
Europeans in confinement would be sacrificed. 
Any stipulation for terms of surrender were now, 
necessarily, of Kttle avail, but assurances were 
given that persons and property would be re- 
spected, and the release of the European pri- 
soners was insisted on, under menaces of severe 
retaliation, if they suffered any violence. The 
chief authorities of the town, however, were too 
much alarmed to await the return of their mes- 
sengers, and abandoned the place before they re- 

Upon taking possession of Rangoon, it was 
found to be entirely dese^ed. The news of the 
arrival of the fleet had scarcely reached the town, 
when the population began to depart, and to 
secrete themselves in the adjacent thickets. This 
desertion was, in a great measure, the effect of 
a univeral panic, but it was promoted by the 


local authorities, in order to deprive their in- 
vaders of the resources of the population. The 
perseverance, however, with which the natives of 
the country submitted to the privations to which 
they were exposed in the jungle, during the 
heavy rains that ensued, clearly proved that the 
abandonment of their homes was, in a consider- 
able measure, a voluntary act, emanating, not 
perhaps from any feehng of rancorous hostility, 
but a firm conviction that the occupation of Ran- 
goon by the invaders would be but temporary, 
and that to submit to their rule would only in- 
volve themselves in that destruction to which 
they were devoted. However this may be, the 
absence of the population, and the impossibility 
of deriving any aid from their local experience 
and activity, were productive of serious incon- 
venience to the expedition, and more than any- 
thing else disconcerted the expectations which 
had been formed of its immediate results. 

One of the first objects of the British com- 
mander on occupying the town, was the rescue 
of his countrymen and other Christians, who 
were in confinement, and the party under Major 
Sale discovered and released in the custom-house 
two EngUsh traders, with an Armenian and a 


Greek, who had been left there m irons ; seven 
other prisoners of this class had been carried 
awayby the Burmas in their flight, but they were 
all liberated on the following morning by the de- 
tachment sent out from the town to reconnoitre 
the groimd, who found them in different cham- 
bers where they had been secured, and forgotten 
by the Burman chiefs, in the confusion of their 

The days immediately following the capture of 
Rangoon were appropriated to the landing and 
disposition of the troops, who were posted in 
the town, in the great pagoda of Shwe-da-gon, 
about two miles and a-half from the town, or on 
the two roads which, leading from each of the 
northern gates, gradually converge until they 
unite near the pagoda, leaving a tolerably open 
space between them. Parties of seamen from 
his Majesty's vessels, with detachments of the 
European regiment were also employed in scour- 
ing the river, and to discover and destroy any 
armed boats or fire rafts, which it was thought 
Ukely the enemy would prepare. In one of 
these excursions, a stockade having been ob- 
served in course of construction at the village of 
Kemendine, about six miles distant from the 


town, it was attacked by the grenadier company 
of his Majesty's 38th, and the boats of the 
lAffey, and stormed with great intrepidity, al- 
though maintained by four hundred of the 
enemy, who behaved with considerable spirit, 
and, notwithstanding the strength of its defences, 
it was carried, accordingly not without some loss. 
Lieutenant Kerr, of the 38th, was killed, and 
Lieutenant Wilkinson, R.N., who commanded 
the boats, was dangerously wounded ; the enemy 
suffered still more severely, and left sixty killed 
in the stockade. Detachments were also sent into 
the interior, to endeavour to find and bring back 
the population, but without success. On this 
occasion, parties of the Burmas were sometimes 
encountered, and skirmishes ensued, with in- 
variably advantageous results to the invading 
force; measures were also adopted to collect 
boats and suppUes as far as practicable, with a 
view to the ultimate advance into the country. 
Some heavy falls of rain occurred in the latter 
part of May, and cover was provided for the 
troops with the least possible delay. They were 
cantoned chiefly along the two roads before men- 
tioned, in the numerous pagodas and religious 
buildings which connected the chief temple with 


the town. The staflP and different departments 
were placed in the town, whilst the terrace of 
the great pagoda was occupied by part of his 
Majesty's 89th regiment and the Madras artil- 
lery, and formed the key to the whole position. 
The Shwe-da-gon pagoda stands upon a mound, 
to which the ascent is by eighty or a hundred 
stone steps, and the summit of which is about 
eight hundred feet square. Besides the central 
edifice, or the temple iteelf, which is a solid 
building rising from an octangular base by a 
gradually diminishing spheroidal outUne to the 
height of 300 feet, a number of buildings, 
smaller shrines, or the habitations of the attend- 
ing priests, chiefly of teak, and curiously carved 
and gilt, surmount the elevation, and formed not 
incommodious dwellings. It very soon appeared 
that there was little chance of quitting this posi- 
tion before the end of the rainy season, as the 
disappearance of the inhabitants rendered it im- 
possible to provide and equip a flotilla necessary 
to proceed up the river, or to man it with rowers 
when equipped. The same circumstance, and 
the desolate state of the country, from which 
nothing in the shape of supplies was to be pro- 
cured, rendered it equally certain, that both for 



the temporary occupation of Rangoon, and even- 
tual march into the interior, the force was en- 
tirely dependent upon the presidencies of Bengal 
and Madras for every description of conveyance 
and food ; a state of things which was little to 
have been expected, from the known commerce 
and supposed resources of Rangoon, and for 
which, accordingly, no previous preparation had 
been made. 

Whilst thus situated, the force at Rangoon was 
re-joined by the detachments which had been des- 
patched against Cheduba and Negrais. The latter, 
a small island of about six miles in circumference, 
was found uninhabited, but the enemy having 
collected in some force on the opposite main land, 
and constructed a stockade. Major Wahab de- 
tached a part of his force against them. The first 
division, three companies of the 17 th regiment 
Madras native infantry, having landed within a 
short distance of the enemy's entrenchment, the 
officer commanding determined to advance at once 
against them without waiting for support, and 
giving them time to prepare for the contest. 
Having carried a breast-work, which had been 
thrown up by the enemy, the party came upon a 
stockade, one angle of which being still open, 



they were able to direct their fire amongst those 
within it, supposed to amount to between seven 
and eight hundred men, who abandoned the de- 
fences after sustaining some loss. Having de- 
stroyed the stockade, and brought off the guns 
and ammunition found in it, Major Wahab re- 
embarked his men and sailed for Rangoon, being 
short of provisions, and not considering that any 
fiuiiher advantage would be derived from the 
occupation of Negrais, or an advance to Bassein, 
the success of which was, in some degree, doubt- 
ful, from his comparative inferiority to the Bur- 
man force. 

The capture of Cheduba, by the force under 
Brigadier McCreagh, was attended with more per- 
manent results, and was more vigorously con- 
tested. The transports with the Slaney, sloop of 
war, collected off the mouth of the river leading 
to the chief town, on the night of the 12th of 
May, and early on the 14th, two himdred of his 
Majesty's 13th, and one hundred of the 20th 
native infantry, being embarked in such boats as 
could be assembled, proceeded up the river: about 
a mile up the river, the enemy were discovered in 
some force on the northern bank, and as the 
headmost boat arrived upon their right flank, 



they opened a slight fire, on which the troops 
landed, and after a short contest, compelled them 
to retreat. They retired with some precipitation 
upon the village, and passing through it, gained 
a strong stockade at the ftirther end. The guns 
were landed from the ships without delay, and a 
battery opened upon the gateway by the 18th, 
the fire of which having much weakened the de- 
fences. Major Thomhill, with a company of the 
13th, forced an entrance into the stockade, without 
much difficulty. After a short contest, in which 
their commander was slain, the Burmas retreated 
by the opposite gate, leaving a great number 
killed. The loss of the assailants was inconsider- 
able. On the 19th, the raja of Cheduba was 
taken by a reconnoitring party, and sent prisoner 
shortly afterwards to Calcutta ; such of the Bur- 
man force as had been sent to his succour, and 
survived the late action, returned to the main 
land, and the people of Cheduba very readily sub- 
mitted to the British rule. Brigadier McCreagh, 
therefore, leaving Lieutenant-colonel Hampton 
with his detachment of the 20th native infantry, 
and the sloop Slaneyy for the protection of the 
island, proceeded with the European division to 
Rangoon, where he arrived on the 11th of 


Between this date and the attack of the Kemen- 
dine stockade, on the 10th of May, several en- 
gagements had taken place with the Burmas, who 
having received reinforcements, had been for some 
days closing upon the British lines, and entrench- 
ing themselves in their immediate vicinity, or con- 
cealed in the dense jungle that grew close to the 
posts, maintained a system of harassing attacks, 
cutting oflP stragglers, firing upon the picquets, and 
creating constant alarms by night as well as by 
day, which subjected the troops to much imneces- 
sary and hurtful exposure and fatigue. In order 
to deter them from persisting in this mode of 
warfare, as well as more precisely to estimate their 
number and position. Sir Archibald Campbell 
marched out on the morning of the 28th of May, 
with four companies of Europeans from his Ma- 
jesty's 13th and 38th regiments, two hundred and 
fifty sipahis, one gun, and a howitzer, against the 
entrenchments in the vicinity of the camp, which 
were supported, it was said, by a considerable 
body of troops under the command of the governor 
of Shwedang. After passing and destroying three 
unfinished and undefended stockades, and ex- 
changing a few shots with such of the enemy as 
showed themselves from time to time in the jungle, 


the artillery-men being exhausted with fatigue, the 
guns were sent back under an escort of the native 
infantry, and Sir Archibald continued to advance 
with the Europeans, through rice fields, some inches 
under water, and in a heavy fall of rain. After a 
most fatiguing march of eight or ten miles, the 
enemy was discovered in great numbers at the 
village of Joazong, and defended in front by two 
stockades. The attack was immediately ordered, 
and the stockades were carried at the point of the 
bayonet, in the most daring and determined man- 
ner. A demonstration was then made of advanc- 
ing against the Burman Une, which immediately 
fell back, as if intending to retreat into the thicket, 
and, as it seemed doubtful if they could be brought 
to action, the detachment returned to the lines. 
The loss they sustained was severe. lieutenant 
Howard, of the 13 th, was killed, and Lieutenants 
Mitchell and O'Halloran, severely wounded, each 
subsequently losing a leg by amputation. The 
enemy was said to have left three hundred dead 
in the stockades, in which the conflict was main- 
tained for some time man to man. Brigadier 
General Macbean, with two regiments and some 
howitzers, was sent out on the following morning to 
the same spot, to see if he could again fall in with 


the Bunnan force, but they had disappeared, aud 
the stockades remained deserted. On the follow- 
ing day, a party of the enemy were driven with 
some loss from a stockade in the jungle, not fai* 
from the Shwe-da-gon pagoda, by the Ught com- 
pany of the 38th, under Major Piper, and on the 
same day a detachment, under Colonel Godwin, 
was sent against Siriam, which fort was found, on 
the opposite side of the Pegu river, abandoned. 

The strongest position occupied by the Burmas, 
at this time, was at Kemendine, upon the river, 
nearly two miles above the post called, also, the 
Kemendine stockade, from which they were driven 
on the 10th of May, At this place the Burmas 
had erected one main stockade of unusual strength 
and extent, whilst in the vicinity there were several 
others, more or less elaborately constructed. In 
order to remove them from the position, two 
columns of the Madras force, one under Lieu- 
tenant-colonel Hodgson, and the other under 
Lieutenant-colonel Smith, marched on the 3rd of 
June from the Shwe-da-gon pagoda, to attack the 
post by land, whilst Sir Archibald Campbell pro- 
ceeded up the river with two cruisers, and three 
companies of his Majesty's 41st. The vessels ad- 
vanced abreast of the entrenchment, and the 


troops landed and burnt the village. The land 
columns arrived in the vicinity of the stockade 
after a very harrassing march, but one of them 
failed to make way into the entrenchments, and 
the other, as they moved through the thicket 
within gun shot, were mistaken for a body of 
Burmas, and received a heavy cannonade from 
the armed vessels on the river, which occasioned 
some loss, and disconcerted the troops, so that 
they could not be afterwards led to the attack ; 
the force therefore was obhged to return with- 
out accomplishing the object for which it had 

Previous to the attack upon this post, two 
Burmas, of inferior rank, had come into Ran- 
goon, stating that they were sent to ascertain 
the objects of the British, by the newly ap- 
pointed meywoon, or viceroy, who was at Ke- 
mendine with the governor of Prome: as they 
could produce no credentials, it was supposed 
that they were merely spies ; but they were civilly 
treated, and sent back. On the 5th of June, two 
other messengers arrived to announce the pro- 
posed mission of other officers of high rank, two 
of whom, whose attendants, and gilt umbrellas, 
indicated them to be personages of consequence. 


came down to Rangoon in two war boats ; the 
senior had been the Woon of Bassein, but was 
now a personal attendant on the king. They were 
received by the Commander-in-Chief and PoUtical 
Commissioner, and stated that they were deputed 
by Thekia Woongyee, recently nominated viceroy 
of Pegu, and then at Donabew, to which place 
they invited Sir Archibald Campbell, or Major 
Canning, to repair, expressing themselves willing 
to remain as hostages for their return. As such 
a proposal, however, could not be listened to, and 
it appeared, that Thekia Woongyee could do 
no more than forward the result of the confer- 
ences, supposing him sincere in wishing to open 
them, to the court, it was stated in reply, that the 
Commissioner would be content with an opportu- 
nity of forwarding despatelies to Ava : to this the 
deputies engaged to obtain the viceroy's assent, 
and promised to return with it on the 15th. As, 
however, they did not repeat their visit, it seems 
probable, that their only object was to gain time, 
and suspend the British operations until the force 
assembling at Donabew should be ready to act. 
If such was their object, it was disappointed, and 
on the 10th of June, a strong force was sent once 
more against Kemendine and the stockades inland 

between it and the great pagoda. 

E 3 


The force destined for this service, consisting of 
nearly three thousand men, with four eighteen 
pounders and four mortars, moved from the lines 
on the morning of the 10th of June, under the 
Commander-in-Chief, whilst two divisions of ves- 
sels proceeded up the river to attack the stockade 
in that direction. On the march, the land columns 
came upon a strong stockade, about two miles 
from the town : in front, the palisades were from 
twelve to fourteen feet high, strengthened by cross 
bars and railing of great solidity ; on the other 
three sides, it was protected by the denseness of 
the surrounding jungle : it was invested on three 
sides, and a breach being made in front by the fire 
of the two eighteen pounders, the Madras Euro- 
pean Regiment, supported by his Majesty's 41st, 
made good their entrance, whilst, at the same 
time, the advanced companies of the 13 th and 
38th, clambered over the palisades on another 
side, and co-operated in clearing the entrench- 
ment. The enemy fled into the thicket, but they 
left one hundred and fifty dead, including a chief 
of some rank, as indicated by his golden chattah. 
Several of the British officers and soldiers dis- 
tinguished themselves by their personal prowess 
^k on this, and on similar occasions, being engaged 
^% repeatedly in single combat with their antagonists 


in the melee that followed the storm of a stockade. 
Before the Burmans had learned to appreciate the 
valour of those with whom they had to contend, 
these conflicts were of necessity sanguinary ; for, 
unaccustomed to civilised warfare, they neither 
gave nor expected to receive quarter ; and when- 
ever, therefore, unable to escape, they rushed des- 
perately upon the bayonets of their assailants, 
and often provoked their death by treacherously 
attempting to effect that of the soldiers by whom 
they had been overcome and spared. 

After carrying this post, the force moved for- 
ward to the river, where it came upon the chief 
stockade, which was immediately invested. The 
left of the Ime communicated with the flotilla, 
but the right could not be sufficiently extended 
to shut in the entrenchment completely between 
it and the river, in consequence of the enemy 
having thrown up other works beyond the stock- 
ade. By four o'clock, the troops were in position 
in a thick jimgle, and no time was lost in bring- 
ing the guns to bear ; but the works could not 
be completed before dark, and the troops were 
obKged to bivouac for the night under an inces- 
sant fall of rain without any shelter, and with 
soft mud on which to recline. Notwithstanding 


these obstacles, batteries were erected during the 
night, and opened at daylight on the 11th; after 
a cannonade of two hours, a party advancing to 
observe the breach found that the enemy had 
evacuated the stockade, carrying with them their 
dead and wounded. The immediate contiguity 
and thickness of the jungle, enabled them to 
effect their retreat unobserved. The stockade 
of Kemendine, commanding the river between it 
and the town, and connecting the head of the 
British line, the Shwe-da-gon pagoda with the 
river, secured the latter from being turned, or 
the town of Rangoon from being threatened in 
that direction, and it was therefore occupied by 
a small European detail, and a battalion of native 
infantry. The Burmese, after the capture of 
their post, retired for a while from the immediate 
vicinity of the British lines, and continued to 
concentrate their forces at Donabew. 

In the short interval of comparative tranquillity 
that ensued between this date and the renewal 
of active operations, the British authorities had 
leisure to consider the position in which they 
were placed. An advance up the river, whilst 
either bank was commanded by the enemy in 
such formidable numbers and by strong entrench- 


ments, was wholly out of the question, as, although 
conveyance for the troops and ordnance had been 
provided, the impossibility of deriving supplies 
from the country was undeniable, and it was 
equally impracticable to maintain a commimica- 
tion with Rangoon. It was clearly necessary, 
therefore, to begin by annihilating the force im- 
mediately opposed to the invading army, before 
any advance could be attempted. But this was 
not so easy a task as was to have been anticipated 
from the superior organisation and valour of the 
British army. In the field, the enemy were as 
little able as inclined to face tli« British force, 
but their dexterity and perseverance in throwing 
up entrenchments, rendered their expulsion from 
these an undertaking that involved a loss of time 
and sacrifice of lives, and the country and seasons 
stood them in the stead of discipUne and courage. 
The vicinity of Rangoon, except about the town 
or along the main road, was covered with swamp 
or jungle, through which the men were obliged 
to wade knee-deep in water, or force their way 
through harrassing and wearisome entangle- 
ments. The rains had set in, and the effects of 
a burning sun were only relieved by the torrents 
that fell from the accumulated clouds, and which 




brought disease along with their coohiess. Con- 
stantly exposed to the vicissitudes of a tropical 
cUmate, and exhausted by the necessity of un- 
intermitted exertion, it need not be a matter of 
surprise that sickness now began to thin the 
ranks and impair the energies of the invaders. 
No rank was exempt from the operation of these 
causes, and many officers, amongst whom were 
the senior naval officer, Captain Marryatt, the 
political commissioner, Major Canning, and the 
commander-in-chief, himself were attacked with 
fever during the month of June. Amongst the 
privates, the Europeans especially, the sickness 
incident to fatigue and exposure was aggravated 
by the defective quantity and quality of the pro- 
visions which had been suppUed for their use. 
Relying upon the reported facihty of obtaining 
cattle and vegetables at Rangoon, it had not 
been thought necessary to embark stores for pro- 
tracted consumption on board the transports from 
Calcutta, and the Madras troops landed with a 
still more limited stock. As soon as the de- 
ficiency was ascertained, arrangements were made 
to remedy it, but in the meantime, before sup- 
plies could reach Rangoon, the troops were de- 
ndent for food upon salt meat, much of which 


was. in a state of putrescence, and biscuit in an 
equally repulsive condition, under the decom- 
posing influence of heat and moisture. The 
want of sufficient and wholesome food enhanced 
the evil effects of the damp soil and atmosphere, 
and of the malaria from the decaying vegetable 
matter of the surrounding forests, and the hospi- 
tals were rapidly filled with sick beyond the 
means available of medical treatment ; fever and 
dysentery were the principal maladies, and were 
no more than the ordinary consequences of local 
causes ; but the scurvy and hospital gangrene, 
which also made their appearance, were ascrib- 
able as much to depraved habits and inadequate 
nourishment, as to fatigue and exposure. They 
were also latterly, in some degree, the conse- 
quences of extreme exhaustion, forming a pecu- 
liar featiKe of the prevailing fever, which bore 
an epidemic type, and which had been felt with 
equal severity in Bengal. The fatal operation of 
these causes was enhanced by their continuance, 
and towards the end of the rainy season, scarcely 
three thousand men were fit for active duty. 
The arrival of adequate supplies, and more espe- 
cially the change of the monsoon, restored the 
force to a more healthy condition." 


Although, however, the proportion of the sick 
was a serious deduction from the available force, 
it was not such as to render it unequal to offen- 
sive operations altogether, or inadequate to repel, 
in the most decisive manner, the collected assault 
of the Burman force that had been some time 
assembhng in its vicinity. During the month 
of June, several affairs of minor importance oc- 
curred, and on the first July, the only general 
action in which the troops had yet been engaged 
took place. 

On receiving intelligence of the occupation of 
Rangoon by the British armament, the court of 
Ava was far from feeling any apprehension or 
alarm ; on the contrary, the news was welcomed 
as peculiarly propitious; the destruction of the 
invaders was regarded as certain, and the only 
anxiety entertained was, lest they should effect a 
retreat before they were punished for their pre- 
sumption. Notwithstanding the unseasonable 
period of the year, therefore, orders were sent to 
collect as large a force as possible to surroimd 
and capture the British, and one of the chief 
officers of state, the Thekia Woongyee, was des- 
patched to assume the command. The result of 
these arrangements was little calculated to inspire 



the court of Ava with confidence in its officers or 

On the morning of the 1st of July, the Bur- 
man force was observed in motion. The main 
body drew up upon the left of the British lines 
in front of the Kemendine stockade, and Shwe- 
da-gon pagoda, but they were screened from ob- 
servation by the intervening thicket, and their 
disposition and strength could not be ascertained. 
Three columns, each of about 1,000 men, moved 
across to the right of the line, where they came 
in contact with the picquets of the 7th and 22nd 
regiments of Madras native infantry, which 
steadily maintained their ground against these 
superior numbers. The enemy then penetrated 
between the picquets, and occupied a hill, whence 
they commenced an ineffective fire on the lines, 
but were speedily dislodged by three companies 
of the 7th and 23rd regiments Madras native 
infantry, with a gun and howitzer, under Captain 
Jones, and the personal direction of the com- 
mander-in-chief; after a short but effective fire, 
the sipahis were ordered to charge, which they 
did with great steadiness, and the enemy imme- 
diately broke and fled into the jungle. The 
body in front of the head of the lines apparently 


awaited the eflTect of this attack, and fell back 
immediately on its failure ; part of the force re- 
crossing the river, a considerable division entered 
the town of Dalla opposite to Rangoon, where 
Lieutenant Isaack, of the 8th Madras native in- * 
fantry, in command of the post, was shot, as he 
advanced to drive them out ; the town of Dalla 
was, in consequence, destroyed. 

The check sustained by the Burmas on the 1st 
had not altered their plans, and they continued 
gathering strength in front of the lines, and oc- 
casioning constant annoyance. It again, there- 
fore, became necessary to repel them to a greater 
distance, and on the 8th, a column about twelve 
hundred strong, under Brigadier-general Mac-, 
bean, moved out to operate by land, whilst Bri- 
gadier-general Sir A. Campbell, with another 
division of eight hundred, proceeded by water. 
The boats with the Lame and several of the 
Company's cruisers advanced to a place where 
the Lyne river, or branch of the Irawadi, falls 
into the Rangoon branch, and at the point of 
their junction, termed Pagoda-point, they found 
the enemy strongly posted. The main entrench- 
ment was constructed on the projecting tongue 
of land at the junction of the two rivers, whilst 


two other stockades, one on either bank of the 
Rangoon river, about eight hundred yards below 
the confluence, commanded the approach, and 
afforded mutual support. Notwithstanding these 
formidable dispositions, the post was soon car- 
ried. A breach having been effected by the fire 
of the vessels, a gun-brig, and three cruisers, 
under the command of Captain Marryat, of the 
Royal Navy, the troops consisting of the Madras 
infantry, supported by part of his Majesty's 41st 
and the Madras European regiment, landed and 
stormed the first stockade ; the second was car- 
ried by escalade, and the enemy abandoned the 
third. Brigadier-general Macbean, supported by 
. Brigadier McCreagh, was equally successful. The 
column moved from the Shwe-da-gon pagoda 
upon Kamaroot, upon the Lyne river, about six 
miles fi'om Rangoon, and a mile and a-half above 
its junction with the Rangoon branch. The 
denseness of the forest rendered it impossible to 
drag forward the field ordnance, and it was sent 
back, with exception of some small howitzers; 
and the march was further retarded by heavy 
rain. Upon clearing the thicket the column 
arrived on the borders of a plain, where they 
could distinguish a series of seven stockades 


filled with men. Notwithstending the extreme 
fatigue which they had undergone, the troops 
under General Macbean's command, headed by 
the 13th and 38th under Majors Sale and Frith, 
maintained their character for determined courage, 
and pressed forward and carried by escalade the 
two nearest of the stockades ; the enemy, driven 
from the exterior defences, fell back upon the 
central position, consisting of three strong en- 
trenchments within each other, in the innermost 
of which Thamba Woongyee, who commanded, 
had taken his station, and endeavoured to ani- 
mate his men to resistance, not only by his 
exhortation, but example. This conduct, so con- 
trary to the usual practice of the Burman chiefs, • 
who are rarely even present in an engagement 
which they direct, was equally unavailing, and 
served only to add his death to that of his fol- 
lowers. Another leader of rank fell also on this 
occasion, in a personal contest with Major Sale, 
who, in every attack, had distinguished himself 
by his personal intrepidity, and who engaged in 
this encounter to rescue a soldier, who had fallen 
beneath the sword of the Burman chief, and was 
about to become the victim of his revenge. The 
capture of so many stockades by so inferior a 


force, and without any assistance from artillery, 
was an achievement imsurpassed during the war, 
and first made a profound impression upon the 
minds of the enemy, who henceforward learnt to 
think themselves insecure within the strongest 
defences. The business was accomplished also 
with a trifling loss on the part of the assailants, 
whilst eight hundred of the Burmas were left 
dead in the stockade, and numbers of their 
wounded were left to perish in the surrounding 
jungle, or adjacent villages. 

The inundated state of the country now pre- 
cluded the possibility of undertaking any move- 
ments of importance, but the period was not 
suffered to pass unimproved. Information being 
received of the assemblage of a force at Kykloo, 
Sir A. Campbell despatched a column of one 
thousand and two hundred men against them by 
land, on the 19th July, whilst he himself, with 
six hundred more, proceeded up the Puzendown 
creek in boats to the same point. The land 
column was unable to make good its advance, 
and the division by water, deprived of its ex- 
pected co-operation, returned to head-quarters, 
having on the way seen only a few flying parties 
of the enemy, and liberated several famiUes, in- 


habitants of Rangoon. It was satisfactory also, 
to find an indication of reviving confidence in 
the appearance of the population of the villages, 
who, although they had fled on the advance of the 
detachment, gathered courage to return to their 
homes by the time of its return, and saluted it 
as it passed. 

The head man of the district of Siriam, near 
the junction of the Pegu with the Rangoon river, 
having collected, in obedience to the orders of 
his government, a considerable force, and being 
actively engaged in constructing works to com- 
mand the entrance into the river, the comman- 
mander-in-chief undertook to dislodge him, and 
embarked on the 4th of August on board a flotilla 
for that purpose, with about six hundred men, 
consisting of part of His Majesty's 41st, the 
Madras European regiment, and 12th Madras 
infantry, under the command of Brigadier Smelt. 
The Burmas, it was found, had taken post within 
the walls of the old Portuguese fortified factory 
at Siriam, having cleared the jungle from its 
surface, filled up the chasms with palisades, and 
mounted guns upon the ramparts: As the 
troops advanced to storni they were received 
with a brisk fire, but the enemy had not resolu- 


tion to await an escalade : they fled towards a 
pagoda in the vicinity, and were pursued by a 
detachment under Lieutenant-colonel Kelly. The 
pagoda also was guarded and mounted with guns, 
but after a hasty fire its defenders abandoned 
the post with precipitation, leaving the assailants 
in possession of the temple. 

Reports having reached Sir A. Campbell, that 
much dissatisfaction had been excited in the 
district of Dalla, by the orders of the court for 
a general conscription, a force of four hundred 
men was embarked under Lieutenant-colonel 
Kelly and despatched on the 8th of August, to 
take advantage of any opportunity that might 
offer of giving support to the discontented. The 
party entered a large creek about two miles 
from the mouth of which they came upon a 
couple of stockades, one on either bank, which 
they landed to storm. In consequence of the 
difficulty of getting through the mud, they were 
exposed for some time to the enemy's fire, and 
suffered some loss. Here, however, as in the 
preceding instance, the entrenchments were 
carried as soon . as the escalade was attempted, 
and the Burmas immediately fled into the neigh- 
bouring jungle. 


In the beginning of August, Major Canning, 
the political agent, who had been some time ill 
of fever, went on board the Nereide, in order 
to return to Bengal for the recovery of his health : 
he died shortly after his arrival in Calcutta. 

In the impossibility that existed of engaging 
in any active operations in the direction of Ava, 
it was judged advisable to employ part of the 
force in reducing some of the maritime provinces 
of the Burman kingdom. The district of Tenas- 
serim, comprising the divisions of Tavoy and 
Mergui, was that selected for attack, as contain- 
ing a valuable tract of sea coast, as well as being 
likely to afford supplies of cattle and grain. 
Accordingly, an expedition was detached against 
those places, consisting of details of his Majesty's 
89th and the 7th Madras native infantry, with 
several cruisers and gun-brigs, under command 
of Lieutenant-colonel Miles. They sailed from 
Rangoon on the 20th August, and reached the 
mouth of the river leading to Tavoy, on the 1st 
September : some difficulty occurred in working 
up the river, in consequence of which, the vessels 
arrived off the town only on the eighth. A con- 
spiracy amongst the garrison facilitated the 
capture of the place, the second in command 


making the Maiwoon and his family prisoners, 
delivered them to the British officer, and the 
town was occupied without opposition. At Mer- 
gui, whither the annament next proceeded, and 
where it arrived on the 6th October, a more 
effective resistance was offered : a heavy fire was 
opened from the batteries of the town, which 
was returned by the cruisers with such effect as 
to silence it in oJjout an hour. The troops then 
landed, and, after wading through miry ground 
between the . river and a strong stockade which 
defended the town, and being exposed to a brisk 
fire from the enemy, they advanced to the stock- 
ade, and escaladed in the most gallant style. 
The enemy fled. The town, when first occupied 
was deserted, but the people soon retiu'ned, an(i 
both here and at Tavoy, showed themselves 
perfectly indifferent to the change of authorities. 
After leaving a sufficient garrison of the native 
troops and part of the flotilla, Colonel Miles re- 
turned with the European portion of his division 
to Rangoon in November, in time to take a part 
in the more important operations about to occur. 
In the end of August, and throughout Sep- 
tember, nothing of any importance took place : 
the Burmas continued in force about Pagoda- 



sition to encounter beyond the ineffective fire of 
the ill-constructed and worse-managed artillery 
of the Burman force. The absence of opposition, 
notwithstanding the strength of the post, and the 
encouraging presence of officers of high rank, 
clearly showed the impression made upon the 
Burmas by the intrepidity of the British troops. 
The first lessons they received, were finally con- 
firmed by the daring escalade of the seven 
stockades at Kamaroot, on the 8th July, by the 
troops, under Brigadier Macbean ; and from that 
moment, although they might be induced to keep 
up a fire from behind their pallisades, and to 
evince considerable determination against the 
sipahis alone, they never offered any effective 
opposition to British troops in the storm, and 
rarely, if ever, awaited the consequence of an 

Nor were the Burmas suffered to indulge in 
the idea of the impregnability of the Kykloo 
stockades, as, on the same day that Colonel 
Smith's detachment returned to head quarters. 
Brigadier M'Creagh was sent, with a combined 
force of Europeans and natives, to attack the 
post. He arrived at the entrenchments on the 
nth, but the enemy had deserted them» and 


fallen back to one said to be of still greater 
strength. Colonel McCreagh, accordingly, ad- 
vanced, and overtook the Burman force in their 
entrenchments at a considerable village, but they 
again fled and dispersed in all directions, after 
setting the village and stockade on fire. After 
further destroying the works, the detachment 
returned to Kykloo, and thence to Rangoon. On 
their advance, they had an opportunity of wit- 
nessing the barbarous character of the enemy, 
many of the bodies of the sipahis and pioneers 
who fell in the former attack, having been fastened 
to the trunks of trees, and mutilated by imbecile 
and savage exasperation. 

The rains which had intermitted in October, 
returned with unusual violence in the beginning of 
November, and prevented the continuance of active 
operations as well as retarded the convalesence 
of the sick : scarcely thirteen hundred Europeans 
were fit for duty, and although the native regiments 
suffered less severely, they were also greatly en- 
feebled ; the prospect of improved weather and 
more wholesome supplies kept up the spirits of 
the men, and they looked forward with impatience 
to the resumption of hostilities. On their side, 
the Burmas were not idle. The successive cap- 



ture of the strongest stockades, the discomfiture 
of every attack, and the prolonged occupation of 
Rangoon, had begun, in the estimation of the 
Burmas themselves, to change the character of the 
war, and to inspire the court of Ava with imeasi- 
ness and alarm. Ascribing, however, the impunity 
of the invaders to the want of energy in their 
generals, rather than to any inferiority in arms, 
the court still looked with some confidence to the 
effect of the measure which had been adopted at 
an early period, of recalling Bundoola and his 
victorious army from Arakan. That chief, as we 
have already noticed, withdrew his troops from 
Ramoo in July and sending his army in detached 
parties across the mountains towards Sembew- 
ghewn and Prome, with instructions to assemble 
at Donabew, repaired to Ava to receive the re- 
wards and commands of his prince. No pains 
nor expense were spared to equip this favourite 
general for the field, and by the approach of the 
season for active exertions, it was estimated that 
fifty thousand men were collected for the ad- 
vance upon Rangoon, who were to exterminate 
the invaders, or carry them captives to the capital, 
where the chiefs were already calculating on the 
number of slaves who were, from this source of 


supply, to swell their train. Reports of the return 
of the Arakan army soon reached Rangoon, but 
some period elapsed before any certainty of its 
movements was obtained. By the end of Novem - 
ber, an intercepted despatch from Bundoola to 
the governor of Martaban, removed all doubt, 
and announced the departure of the former from 
Prome, at the head of a formidable host. His 
advance was hailed with delight, and preparations 
were made immediately for his reception. 

Before we advert, however, to the results of 
the conflict, it will be convenient to notice some 
other occurrences which took place in the inter- 
val, connected with the general course of the war 
in this direction. In the course of September, 
the Company's cruiser, HaatingSy stationed off 
Cheduba, had made several reconnoisances of 
the large and neighbouring island of Ramree, 
and cut off several of the enemy's war-boats. 
In the beginning of October Lieutenant-colonel 
Hampton, commanding on Cheduba, detacfied 
a party of two hundred men, who, with a part 
of the crew of the Haatings^ landed on the island 
and destroyed some stockades ; nothing further 
was attempted. A more important measure was 
the capture of Martaban, a large town on the 


north bank of the Sanluen river near its debouche, 
by Colonel Godwin, who was detached on this 
duty in the end of October, with part of his 
Majesty's 41st foot, the 3rd regiment of Madras 
native infantry, and Madras artillery, under con- 
voy of his Majesty's ships Arachne and Sophia, 
They reached Martaban on the 29th November : 
the place was found to be of considerable 
strength, and was at first warmly defended by 
Maha Udina, the governor, a bold and active 
chief. After a mutual cannonade, the troops 
were landed under a heavy fire from the enemy, 
who as usual did not await the effects of the 
storm, but evacuated the entrenchments as soon 
as the British entered. The town was at first 
deserted, but the inhabitants, chiefly Talains or 
natives of Pegu, gradually returned, and the 
post was occupied by a British detachment 
throughout the remainder of the war. Towards 
the end of November also Lieutenant-colonel 
Mallett was detached to display the British flag 
in old Pegu, which was effected without oppo- 
sition, and the division returned to head quarters 
in time to take part in the brilliant operations 
of the ensuing month. 

The concentrated effort to which the energies 


and expectations of the government of Ava had 
been for some time directed was at length made, 
and the first half of December was the season 
of a series of operations which showed by the 
perseverance of the Burman generals, how much 
they had at stake. The grand army, which had 
been sedulously forming along the course of the 
Irawady, and which had been gradually ap- 
proaching the British lines now ventured seriously 
to invest them. The force was estimated at 
sixty thousand men of whom more than half 
were armed with muskets, the rest with swords 
and spears; a considerable number of jinjals, 
carrjdng balls of from six to twelve ounces, and 
a body of seven hundred Casay horse were 
attached to the force, whilst a numerous flotilla 
of war-boats and fire-rafts proceeded along the 
stream. No opposition was made to the ad- 
vance of the enemy to the immediate proximity 
of Rangoon, which took place on the 1st De- 
cember, and encouraged by this seeming timidity, 
as well as inspired by the confidence that they 
were now to exterminate their invaders, they 
formed a regular investment of the British lines, 
extending in a semicircle from Dalla, opposite 
to Rangoon, round by Kemendine and the great 


ment of the 28th Madras njitive infantry. With 
these exceptions, and the reply to the enemy's 
fire by the artillery, nothing was attempted for 
a few days, in order to encourage the Burman 
generals to trust themselves completely within 
the reach of the British army. 

Between the 1st and the 5th of December, 
the Burmas accordingly advanced their entrench- 
ments with incessant activity close to the prin- 
cipal points of the British lines. On the north 
of the great Pagoda, they occupied some high 
ground within musket shot, separated from the 
temple by the reservoir, known by the name of 
the Scotch tank. They thence formed at a right 
angle, facing the eastern front of the temple, to 
the vicinity of a morass, beyond which their 
lines proceeded parallel with those of the* British, 
nearly to the Puzendown creek, and at their 
southern extremity, within gun-shot of Rangoon. 
From these positions, they kept up a constant 
fire upon the Pagoda and the advanced picquets, 
and made it dangerous for the men to show 
themselves beyond the defences. On the oppo- 
site side of the river, they cannonaded the ship- 
ping with little intermission, whilst at the post 
of Kemendine scarcely any respite was given to 


the garrison, and frequent fire-rafts were launched 
against the vessels in the river. Little harm was 
effected by this show of activity, but as the 
Burman force could no longer be permitted to 
harass the troops with impunity, and it was now 
impossible for them to escape from the conse- 
quences of a defeat, the commander-in-chief re- 
solved to become the assailant, and terminate the 
expectations in which they had hitherto been 
permitted to indulge. 

With this view, on the 6th December, a 
division of the flotilla and gun-boats, under Captain 
Chads, was ordered up the Puzendown creek, 
which cannonaded the enemy in flank, and drew 
off their attention in that quarter ! at the same 
time two columns of attack were formed to ad- 
vance from the Rangoon side, one eight hundred 
strong, under Major Sale, and the other of five 
hundred, under Major Walker, of the Madras 
service. A party of the Governor-Generars 
body-guard, which had arrived on the preceding 
evening, was attached to Major Sale's column. 
The columns advanced at seven o'clock : that 
imder Major Walker first came in contact with 
the enemy, who, at first, offered some resistance, 
but the entrenchment being carried at the point 
of the bayonet, they quickly broke and retreated. 


to their cantonments at Gohati, Burman parties 
re-occupied the stations of KaUabur, Raha Cho- 
key, and Noagong, levying heavy contributions 
on the people, and pillaging the country. They 
even carried their incursions into the neighbour- 
ing states, and devastated the frontier districts 
of the British ally and dependant, the raja of 
Jyntea. The renewal of operations in this quar- 
ter, therefore, commenced with their expulsion 
once more from these positions. The force under 
Lieutenant-colonel Richards, who had been con- 
tinued in the command, and had been instructed 
to clear Asam of the Burmas during the ensuing 
campaign, consisted of the 46th and 57th regi- 
ments of native infantry, the Rungpoor and Dina- 
pore local battalions, and the Champaran light in- 
fantry with details of artillery and flotilla, and a 
detachment of irregular horse, amounting alto- 
gether to about three thousand men ; a corps more 
than adequate for the purposes it was directed to 
effect, being fully equal, if not superior, to the 
aggregate of the Burman troops in Asam, and 
infinitely superior in equipment and efficiency. 

The numbers of the army, and the necessity 
of recourse to water-carriage, preventing the for- 
ward movement of the whole body at an early 


period, Colonel Richards detached two divisions 
about the end of October, 1824, to put a stop to 
the exactions and excesses of the Burmas. 
Major Waters, with a flotilla, and part of the 
Dinapur battalion, was directed to proceed to 
Raha Chowkey and Noagong, and the other 
boats, with one wing of the Chumparun light 
infantry, with four guns, under Major Cooper, 
advanced to KaUabur. The latter arrived at 
Kaliabur on the 29th October, surprising a small 
party of Burmas on his route, who were dispersed 
with the loss of one of their chiefs, and the cap- 
ture of another. Major Waters also, on his way. 
dislodged a party from the village of Hathgaon, 
and on his arrival at Raha Chowkey, on the 3rd of 
November, took the party stationed there by sur- 
prise. They were scattered about in the houses 
of the village, and in their attempt to escape from 
one of the columns into which Major Waters had 
divided his force, fell upon the other, by which 
many were killed. A small body which had 
been detached to reconnoitre, returning in ig- 
norance of these transactions, was, on the follow- 
ing day, drawn into an ambuscade, and nearly 
half destroyed. In these affairs, the completeness 
rf the success was not more owing to the steady 


i I 


'led a.T-v:^*- 
"^^fidi PL • 

••i"*".. -i"? t:.- ..... V 

^^ the route w;iS :-.v:...- - : 
-^^Hved at MauiJi M i^::. .:. ::.• • :.. .: '.. 
v)ii their arrival, i:/.*;.. .:::.■>- •. > •.:...■.• 
"- . - ^ party of the eiiLiny wn,-:-: 
.-*. -^^ the road to Jor»:L^t. C 

^^^diatelv dtrtached a co 
,v '^lUent, under Lieut. Joiivs, '-: \,.r 
. " deeded, under the guidar/:-: o: L.-. 
the spot, but unluckilv. t:.',- er.-:.':.v 
^ the move, and orjly a i»;'.v (/: ';.-; 
^ere seen and pursued w i:':-o v. -.r -c-: 

Having afterwards r^iCciv-yi l:.v 
Wo parties were in the hills *.o :: 
One of Avhich, at Kaleana. v.i.. ^ 
his rear, Colonel Richards d-;;r..-: 
to dislodge them, a-j, if ?.llo".v-;'; 
would have it in their pov/.-.-r to ^-..:.;:.^ 
road between his force ar.d Ka-j/o -r. ^i.. ; 
its supplies, besides det^:rnn;r ■.;*; .:.:•-* 
from retuminr? to their horf.':s. Ii'; ' 
being reported also to have parties i:. stocKa^ierl 

o 2 

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A *«• .'.««. „ 

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29th. The approach of the capital had been for- 
tified by the enemy ; a stockade had been drawn 
across the road, the left of which was strengthened 
by an entrenched tank, a Uttle way in front, 
and the right was within gun-shot of the fort: 
the position mounted several guns, and was de- 
fended by a strong party. On approaching the 
defences, the assailants were saluted by a heavy 
fire, which brought down half the leading divi- 
sion, and caused a momentary check : a couple 
of sheUs, and a round or two of grape having 
been thrown in, the column again advanced, 
and the stockade was escaladed and carried 
by the right wing of the 57th regiment, under 
Captain Martin, supported by the 46th. The 
tank on the right was also occupied, and two 
temples, one on the right and the other on the 
left, were taken possession of, by which the south 
side of the fort was completely invested, and the 
enemy were driven in at all points. In this ac- 
tion, Lieutenant-Colonel Richards and Lieutenant 
Brooke were wounded ; the former slightly, the 
latter severely ; the number of wounded was con- 
siderable, but the loss in killed was of little 

The result of these two engagements not ,only 
dispirited the Burmas, but gave renewed in- 


veteracy to the divisions that prevailed amongst 
them. The two chiefs, the Sam and Bagli Pho- 
kuns, were wiUing to stipulate for terms ; but the 
more numerous party, headed by the subordinate 
chiefs, were resolutely bent on resistance, and 
threatened the advocates of pacific measures with 
extermination. The latter, however, so far pre- 
vailed, as to dispatch a messenger to the British 
Commander, a Bauddha priest, a native of Ceylon, 
but brought up in Ava, Dhermadhar Brahma- 
chari, to negociate terms for the surrender of 
Rungpore, and they were finally agreed upon 
through his mediation. Such of the garrison as 
continued hostile, were allowed to retire into the 
Burman territory, on their engaging to abstain 
from any act of aggression on their retreat, and 
those who were pacifically inclined, were suffered 
to remain unmolested, with their families and 
property : their final destination to await the de- 
cision of the Govemor-Generars agent ; but in the 
event of peace with Ava, they were not to be given 
up to that government. Colonel Richards was in- 
duced to accede to these conditions, by his con- 
viction of the impossibility of preventing the escape 
of the garrison, upon the capture of the fort, or 
of pursuing them on their flight. It was also to 




have been apprehended, if the evacuation of the 
province had been much longer delayed, that it 
might not have been cleared of the enemy during 
the campaign, as the want of carriage and suppUes 
would have detained the anny some time at Rung- 
pore, and might have delayed its movements till 
the season was too far advanced to admit of its 
progress far beyond the capital. By the occupa- 
tion of Rungpore on the terms granted, much time 
was saved, as well as some loss of lives avoided ; 
and the object of the campaign, the expulsion of 
the Burmas from Asam, without the fear of their 
renewing their irruptions with any success, was 
peaceably and promptly secured. The persons that 
surrendered themselves, by virtue of these stipu- 
lations, were Sam Phokun and about seven hun- 
dred of the garrison ; the rest, about nine thou- 
sand, of both sexes and all ages, including two 
thousand fighting men, withdrew to the frontiers; 
but many dropped off on the retreat, and esta- 
blished themselves in Asam. 

The surrender of Rungpore, and the dispersion 
of the Burmas, terminated the regular campaign 
on the north-eastern frontier; but the state of 
anarchy into which Asam had fallen, and the 
lawless conduct of the Singhpho, and other wild 


tribes, inhabiting its eastern portion, continued to 
demand the active interference of British detach- 
ments throughout the remainder of the season. 
The Burmas also appeared in some force, in May, 
at Beesa Gaon, a Singhpho village, on the right 
bank of the Nao Dehing, where they erected a 
stockade ; they also advanced to Duffa Gaon, a 
similar village, a few miles inland from the same 
river, about ten miles to the north of the former, 
where they entrenched themselves. The force at 
these posts consisted of about one thousand men, 
of whom six hundred were Burmas, the rest 
Singhphos, under the command of the governor 
of Mogaum. From these stations they were dis- 
lodged in the middle of June, by a party of the 
57th native infantry, under Lieutenants Neufville 
and Kerr, after a march of great exertion and 
fatigue. At Beesa Gaon, the stockades were five 
in number, and were carried at the point of the 
bayonet : the enemy at first formed in front of 
the stockades, as if determined to ofier a resolute 
resistance ; but they retreated precipitately before 
the charge of the British detachment, who following 
them as quickly as the preservation of order, and 
the nature of the ground would permit, drove them 
out of each stockade in rapid succession, without 



firing a shot : on quitting the last entrenchment, 
the Burmas fled towards their frontier, but their 
retreat was pursued by a party under Ensign 
Bogle, and they were so closely pressed, that 
they were obliged to abandon several hundred 
Asamese, whom they were carrying off as slaves. 

The plan of operations on the Sylhet frontier, 
during the campaign of 1825, comprised the 
march of a considerable force through Kachar into 
Manipur, whence an impression might be made 
on the territory of Ava, or at least the anxious 
attention of the court be drawn to its frontier in 
that direction. With these views, a force of about 
seven thousand men was collected under Brigadier 
Shuldham, who was appointed to command the 
eastern frontier. The army consisted of six re- 
giments of infantry, the 7th, 44th, and 45th 
native infantry, forming the 3rd brigade, and the 
14th, 39th and 52nd regiments native infantry, 
brigaded as the 4th brigade, two companies of 
artillery, four of pioneers, the Sylhet local corps, 
a corps of cavalry, Blair's irregular horse, and a 
body of Kacharis and Manipuris about five hun- 
hundred strong, under raja Gambhir Singh. 

At an early period after the rains had ceased, 
a reconnoisance was made by Brigadier Innes, 


of the positions which the Burmas had occupied 
throughout the season at Talain, and which they 
had now abandoned, after sustaining a consider- 
able reduction of their force by the unhealthiness 
of the cHmate and the insufficiency of suppUes. 
There was nothing, therefore, to apprehend from 
the enemy on the advance to Manipur, nor was it 
probable that they were to be found there in any 
strength : the defence of Arakan and the Irawadi 
furnishing ample employment for the resources 
of Ava. Although, however, hostile opposition was 
not to be dreaded, the face of the country to be 
traversed and its utter unproductiveness, offered 
obstacles equally serious, and which proved in- 
surmountable to a numerous and heavily-equipped 
army. From Bhadrapur to Banskandy, a road 
was speedily made by the exertions of the pioneers, 
on which General Shuldham, with the artillery 
and the third brigade advanced to Doodpatlee, 
there to await the further operations of the pio- 
neers, and the arrival of carriage cattle and pro- 
visions. Captain Dudgeon, with the Sylhet local 
corps, Gambhir's levy, and a wing of Blair's horse 
was sent in advance to cover the pioneers. The 
country from Banskandy towards Manipur was 
a continual series of ascents and descents, the 


route being intersected at right angles by ridges 
of mcaintains running nearly due north and south, 
the base of one springing from the foot of the 
other, with the intervention only of a mountain 
rivulet swollen into a deep and precipitous river 
after every shower: for the first thirty miles, 
also, the sides of the mountains were completely 
covered with a thick forest, the intervals between 
the trees of which were filled up with a network 
of intertwining reeds and brushwood, except 
where a narrow and often interrupted foot path 
wound through the labyrinth. The soil was a 
soft alluvial moidd, converted by the sUghtest 
rain into a plashy mire, and to aggravate all these 
difficulties, frequent and heavy showers com- 
menced early in February, and continued with 
slight occasional intermission until the proximity 
of the rainy season rendered the attempt to reach 
Manipur hopeless. 

During the whole of February, the pioneers, 
assisted by a few of the mountaineers, some coolies 
from Sylhet, and working parties from the local 
corps, contrived, with immense labour, to open 
a pathway through the forest, to the banks of 
the Jiri nullah, about forty miles from Banskandy, 
but the nature of the soil, and the state of the 


weather, rendered their success of little avail, as 
the road continued impassable for guns and loaded 
cattle. In the attempts to move forward, and 
in the conveyance of supplies to the pioneers and 
the advanced guard, several hundred bullocks 
perished, a great number of camels were destroy- 
ed, and many elephants were lost, both by the 
fatigue they underwent, and by their dislocating 
their limbs as they laboured through the mire, 
or by their becoming so deeply plunged into it, 
that no efforts could extricate them. After 
struggUng against these physical obstructions 
in vain, through February and March, General 
Shuldham reported the impracticability of the 
advance to Manipur, in consequence of which 
the attempt was abandoned, and the force broken 
up. The head-quarters were removed to Dacca, 
a force under Brigadier-general Donkin was 
posted at Sylhet, and the two corps of native 
infantry, with the Sylhet local corps, and the 
Manipur levy, were left in Kachar. 

That the difficulties which had thus arrested 
the progress of a heavy body encumbered by 
baggage and artillery, were not insurmountable 
to a small force differently organised, was very 
speedily established, and the Burmas were driven 


out of Manipur by a corps attached to the invad- 
ing army, on the strength of which it was scarcely 
enumerated. At his earnest soUcitation, Gamb- 
hir Singh was allowed to undertake the recovery 
of his ancestral possessions with his own levy, 
formed of five hundred Manipuris and Kacharis, 
armed by the British government, but wholly 
undisciplined. Lieutenant Pemberton volun- 
teered to accompany the raja. They left Sylhet 
on the 17th May, and did not reach Banskandy 
till the 23rd, the direct road being impassable, in 
consequence of heavy rain, which compelled them 
to make a circuitous detour. They again started 
with the levy on the 25th, and after a march of 
great difficulty and privation, chiefly owing to 
repeated falls of rain, which compelled them to 
halt several days together, they gained the western 
boundary of the valley of Manipur on the 10th 
of June. In the town of Manipur, and at two 
villages in advance, they found the Burmas 
posted, but the enemy retreated to a village 
called Undra, about ten miles to the south. The 
raja and Lieutenant Pemberton advanced to 
attack them, but they again fled, and information 
was shortly afterwards received, that they had 
evacuated the province. The season of the year 


and the want of supplies rendering the valley of 
Manipur equally untenable for friend or foe, 
Gambhir Singh, leaving a division of his levy, 
and a body of armed inhabitants to defend the 
chief town, returned with Lieutenant Pemberton 
to Sylhet, where they arrived on the 22nd June, 
having in this manner accomplished one of the 
objects of the campaign, and, with a few hundred 
undisciplined mountaineers, cleared Manipur of 
the enemy. 

An effort on a still more extensive scale than 
the armament on the Sylhet frontier formed part 
of the plan of this campaign, and important 
results were expected to follow the employment 
of a powerful force on the side of Arakan. With 
this intention, an army of about eleven thousand 
men was assembled at Chittagong in the end of Sep- 
tember ; it was formed of his Majesty's 44th and 
54th regiments, the 26th, 42nd, 49th, and 62nd 
Bengal native infantry; the 10th and 16th regi- 
ments Madras native infantry, the Mug levy, and a 
body of local horse with details of pioneers and 
artillery, and was placed under the command of bri- 
gadier-general Morrison, of his Majesty's service: a 
flotilla of pilot vessels and gun-brigs was attached 
to it, under the direction of Commodore Hayes, 


estuaiy of above ten miles in breadth ; at a short 
distance from the mouth of the Meyu, a creek 
rmining north of Akyab, formed a communica- 
tion between the two streams, opening into the 
Oreatung at a point marked by the site of a 
pagoda, and opposite to a similar channel which 
led to the spot chosen for the encampment, 
Chang Krein Island, a part of the country, in- 
sulated hke many others in its vicinity, by the 
innumerable communicating and intersecting 
ramifications of the rivers and creeks. The gun- 
boats, with other boats and rafts, having joined 
on the 27 th February, the force was gradually 
transported across the Meyu and along the canals 
above described, to Chang Krein Island, where 
a sufficient force for forward movements was col- 
lected on the 20th of March ; nearly a month 
having elapsed since the arrival of the force at 
the mouth of the Meyu. From Chang Krein, 
the main body was advanced on the 20 th of 
March a short distance to Kay Krang Dong, while 
the right pushed forward five miles to Natonguay, 
to cover the working parties employed in render- 
ing the nullahs passable, and the left remained in 
position at Chang Krein, threatening some stock- 
ades at Kheoung Pala, or Chambala, which had 


been the scene of a temporary check to the 
marine division of the invading force. Com- 
modore Hayes having entered the great Arakan 
river on the 22nd February, received information 
which induced him to believe that the principal 
Mug chieftains were confined at Chambala, a 
stockade garrisoned by about one thousand men, 
half a tide from the capital, and concluding that 
their liberation would prove of essential service 
to the advancing army, he determined upon 
attacking the work. Accordingly, on the 23rd, 
he stood up the channel leading from the Orea- 
tung river to Arakan, with the Research^ Vestal, 
and several gun-vessels, having on board one 
company of his Majesty's 54th regiment. At 
two p. M. they came in sight of the enemy's 
works at Kheoung Pala, which immediately 
' opened a heavy fire upon the Gun^a Saugor and 
Vestal, the headmost vessels. The Besearch 
getting within half pistol shot, commenced a 
cannonade and fire of musketry upon the stock- 
ade and breast-work, which was returned by the 
enemy with great regularity and spirit. On 
ranging to the northern end of the stockade, 
with intent to anchor and flank it, as well as to 
allow the other vessels to come into action, the 



these the ground was again clear and open, not 
only to the fire of the defenders, but to the large 
stones which they precipitated upon the assail- 
ants who attempted to scale the summit. 

The first attempt to carry the position was by 
a direct attack upon the pass, and the division 
appointed to the duty was placed under com- 
mand of Brigadier-general Macbean. The as- 
sault was led by the hght infantry company 
of his Majesty's 54th, four companies of the 
2nd light infantry battalion, and the light com- 
panies of the 10th and 16th Madras native in- 
fantry, with the rifle company of the Mug levy, 
under Major Kemm, and supported by six 
companies of the 16th Madras native infantry, 
under Captain French. Notwithstanding the 
utmost gallantry of the troops, the attempt to 
escalade failed, in consequence of the steepness 
of the ascent, and the well-directed fire and 
incessant rain of stones which knocked down 
the assailants as fast as they approached the top 
of the pass. After a fruitless struggle, in which 
the sipahis and Europeans vied with each other 
in the display of cool and determined courage, 
every officer being disabled, and Captain French, 
of the 16th Madras native infantry, killed, the 


troops were recalled, and the force took up a 
position for the rest of the day. 

Having determined, in consequence of the 
failure of this attempt, and the nearer observa- 
tion of the enemy's defences, to attack them on 
their right, as the key to their position, whilst 
their attention should be drawn by a continued 
fire to their front, the 30th of March was spent 
in the construction of a battery, to play espe- 
cially upon the works commanding the pass, and 
on the 31st, at day light the guns opened, and 
maintained during the day, a heavy cannonade, 
which had the effect of checking, though not 
silencing the enemy's fire. At about eight in 
the evening. Brigadier Richards moved off with 
si^ companies of his Majesty's 44th, three of 
the 26th, and three of the 49th native infantry, 
thirty seamen, under Lieutenant Armstrong of 
the Research^ and thirty dismounted troopers 
of Gardener's horse. 

Although there was moonlight, yet it was 
evident from the silence of the Burmas, that 
the movement from the camp had not been 
detected from the heights. The hill was nearly 
five hundred feet high, but the road by which 
the party ascended was winding and precipitous, 



and an anxious interval elapsed before it could 
be known that the undertaking had succeeded. 
At last, a few minutes after eleven, a shot from 
the hill proclaimed that the enemy had discovered 
the advance of the assailants. The whole camp 
was in a moment on foot : a yell or two from the 
Burmese was followed by a sharp fire for a very 
short period, and then the drums and fifes of 
the detachment proclaimed that the point was 
carried, even before the preconcerted signal by 
rockets had been given. 

On the following morning, as soon as a six- 
pounder, carried up the hill with some difficulty, 
had been brought to bear upon the enemy. Briga- 
dier Richards advanced to the assault of the en- 
trenchments on the adjacent height, whilst a 
simultaneous movement of the advance, under 
Brigadier-general Macbean, was again directed 
against the pass from below. The enemy, ap- 
parently panic-struck, abandoned the hills after 
a feeble resistance, and the capital of Arakan 
was in possession of the British force. The loss 
in these subsequent operations was inconsider- 

Arakan stands upon a plain, generally of rocky 
ground, surrounded by hills and traversed by 


a narrow tide nulla, towards which there is a 
prevailing slope. On the northern face, another 
nulla intervenes between the wall of the fort and 
the hills, and both these streams unite a little 
below the Baboo Dong hill, through the rocky 
fissures of which they rush, at low water, with 
the velocity and noise of a rapid. The space 
on which the town stands is not. an absolute 
square, nor are the hills arranged with rectihnear 
regularity ; but allowing for the ruggedness of 
the natural outline, and supposing the surface 
to be sprinkled with a few detached and sepa- 
rate little eminences, a tolerably accurate idea 
of the situation of the place may be formed. The 
fort stands at the north-west corner of the space 
above described. It consists of three concentric 
walls, with intervening spaces between the third 
and second, and the second and inner wall, 
which forms the citadel. These walls are of con- 
siderable thickness and extent, constructed with 
large stones, and with a degree of labour such 
as a powerful state alone could have commanded. 
Where the masonry is dilapidated, the inter- 
stices have, by the Burmas, been filled up with 
piles of timber. This interior work is compara- 
tively trifling to that by which in former days 


the defects in the eircumvallation of hills appear 
to have been supplied. At every point, where 
the continuity of their natural outline is broken 
artificial embankments faced with masonry, some 
of a very great height, connect them with each 
other, and the excavations whence the materials 
were quarried, have now formed into what 
resemble large natural ponds. The Burman 
entrenchments merely followed and took advan- 
tage of this ancient line of defensive outworks. 
The extent of the circumference is nearly nine 
miles. At the gateways the stone walls appear 
to have been of considerable elevation and great 
solidity, but where the steepness or altitude of 
the hill rendered artificial defences of less im- 
portance, a low wall of brick or stone has been 
carried along the summit. These defences are said 
to have been constructed several centuries ago. 

All the hills and hillocks contiguous to the 
town are surmounted by pagodas, which, by 
their pointed tops, resembling spires, give the 
place something of a town-like appearance ; but, 
with the exception of these edifices, and the walls 
of the fort, its palaces and its huts were all of the 
same materials — bamboos, timber, straw, and 
mats, with not a single stone or brick building 


among them. The nmnber of houses in the 
town was said to have been eighteen thousand, 
but half had been destroyed by fire. The greater 
part of the population had abandoned the place 
on its first occupation, but speedily returned to 
their homes, and showed themselves well satisfied 
with the change of their government. 

The first days after taking possession of the 
town were occupied in preparing for further 
operations: the nature of the country defeated 
one object of the attack from the eastward, and 
assisted the Burman force to effect their escape, 
although in small scattered parties, across the low 
lands between the capital and the mountains, and 
across the latter to Chalain by the passes fromTalak 
and Aeng. Two of the four provinces of Arakan, or 
Arakan and Cheduba, were therefore cleared of 
the enemy, and it only remained to dislodge them 
from the remaining divisions of Chynda (or San- 
doway) and Ramree, for which purpose a part of 
the force, under Brigadier-general Macbean was 
despatched on the 8th of April. 

We have already seen that the Burman posts 
on Ramree were kept on the alert by the troops 
at Cheduba, under Lieutenant-colonel Hampton, 
and the crews of the Hastings frigate and gun- 


planted across the river in various places, and 
several stockades were observed, but there was 
no appearance of the enemy, who had withdrawn 
from all their positions in Arakan upon hearing 
of the downfal of the capital. 

The entire occupation of the province of Arakan 
thus fidfilled one chief object of the expedition, 
and, in as far as it excited the apprehensions of 
the Bmrman court, of an invasion in that direc- 
tion, proved a seasonable diversion in favour of 
the Rangoon force. It was not found practicable, 
however, to carry into eflTect the other main pur- 
pose of the force, a junction across the mountains 
with Sir Archibald Campbell. Several recon- 
noisances were made, with the view of determin- 
ing the practicability of a route across the moun- 
tains, but they failed to afford satisfactory in- 

Little was to be apprehended from the enemy 
until near the Burman boundary. They had 
retreated over the mountains with great preci- 
pitation, losing great numbers by the way from 
want, fatigue, and conflicts with the mountaineers. 
At Chalain, in the Ava country, they halted, and 
whilst the chiefs, the Atwen Woon Moungza and 
the viceroy Toroo-wyne, proceeded to the capital, 


ah officer of high military repute, Maha Mengyee 
Thilwa, assumed the command with considerable 
reinforcements. The chief impediments, however, 
were of a physical character, and consisted in the 
face of the country and the change of the season. 
Above eighty miles of a low jungly tract, crossed 
by numerous rivulets, intervened between the 
capital and Talak, at the foot of the mountainous 
ridge which separates Arakan from Ava. It 
thence passed, for ninety miles more, over lofty 
and rugged precipices, where no suppUes could 
be expected, and even water was scarce, and 
which could be rendered practicable for guns and 
baggage only by great effort and with consider- 
able delay. A force was formed of the light 
companies of his Majesty's 44th and 45th, and 
1 6th Madras infantry, and three companies of the 
2nd Bengal light infantry, and placed under the 
command of Major Bucke, to explore this route 
in pursuit of the enemy. They proceed to Talak 
by water, and thence made four marches over the 
mountains, in which the men and cattle under- 
went extreme fatigue. When arrived at Akovryn, 
within one stage of Tantabain, on the Burman 
frontier, they learned that the Burmas were there 
in strength, and the exhausted state of the de- 


tachment, and the impracticable nature of the 
route, induced Major Bucke to retrace his steps 
and return to Talak. At a more favourable season 
the route might have been traversed by the army, 
but it was now too late, and at any time would 
have been a work of much difficulty. A much 
more practicable road across the mountains by 
Aeng, was not attempted till the end of the war, 
but it would not have been of much avail for the 
passage of the troops had iifi existence been known 
earlier, as none of the carriage cattle of the army 
had crossed the Meyu river in June, and some 
were even then to the north of the Naf. Even 
their presence would not have enabled the army 
to advance, as the rains set in early in May, and 
precluded all possibility of miUtary operations. 
The season also brought with it, its usual pesti- 
ferous influence, in the midst of a low country over- 
run vrith jungle, and intersected by numerous 
shallow and muddy rivers. Notwithstanding the 
precautions that had been taken in the timely can- 
tonment of the troops at Arakan, fever and dy sentry 
broke out among them to an alarming extent, and 
with the most disastrous results. That the unavoid- 
able privations of troops on service tended to 
aggravate the severity of the complaints, was a 


necessary occurrence ; but all ranks were equally 
affected, and a large proportion of officers fell 
victims to the climate. Brigadier-general Mor- 
rison himself, after struggling through the cam- 
paign against it, was obliged to quit the country, 
and died on his way to Europe. The maladies 
were so universal, and the chance of subduing 
them so hopeless, that the Government of Ben- 
gal was at last impelled to the necessity of recall- 
ing the troops altogether, leaving divisions of them 
on the islands of Cheduba and Ramree, and the 
opposite coast of Sandoway, where the climate 
appeared to be not unfavourable to their health.^^ 
From these transactions, we retmn to the 
operations of the army at Rangoon. 

The capture of the stockades at Kokain on the 
1 5th of December, was followed by the complete 
dispersion of the Burman army, and the exertions 
of the chiefs were vainly directed to its re-organi- 
zation. Two or three small bodies were thus 
assembled on the Lyne river, at Mophi and 
Panlang, whilst Maha Bundoola retreated to 
Donabew, where he exercised his utmost efforts, 
and ultimately with some success, to concentrate 
a respectable force, which he strongly intrenched. 


The victory produced also a change in the senti- 
ments of the enemy, and a letter was addressed to 
some of the European residents at Rangoon by 
Maha Bundoola, which, although of a vague and 
indefinite character, evinced a material alteration 
in the temper of that chieftain, and a disposition, 
if not to treat for peace, to respect his antagonists. 
The tenor of the letter, and its address to un- 
official persons, precluded its being made the 
basis of negociation ; but a letter was written by 
Sir A. Campbell to the Burman commander, to 
point out to him the propriety of addressing the 
British general direct, if he had any communica- 
tion to make, to which he was desirous the latter 
should pay regard, and assuring him that Sir A. 
Campbell would ever be accessible to any corres- 
pondence of an amicable purport. No notice of 
this letter was taken by Bundoola, and even if 
sincere in his first advance, the re-assembling of 
his forces probably encouraged him to make 
another appeal to the chance of war. 

Having been joined by his Majesty's 47th re- 
giment, a detachment of rocket artillery, and a 
division of gun-boats. Sir A. Campbell deter- 
mined to make a forward movement upon Prome. 
In order to leave no obstruction in his rear, he 


dispatched Colonel Elrington against the only 
remaining post in possession of the enemy, in 
the vicinity of Rangoon, the old Portuguese fort 
and the pagoda of Syriam, which had been re- 
occupied by part of the grand Biuman army in 
December, and from whence they were once 
more driven, after a slight resistance, on the 
11th February, when the army was at liberty to 
commence its advance. 

The departure of the army from Rangoon was 
encouraged by the indication of favourable 
changes in the political situation of the country. 
The major part of the population in the lower 
districts of the Burman kingdom, are Tahens 
or Peguers, who, although depressed by a long 
course of servitude, retain the memory of their 
ancient greatness, and hostihty to their oppres- 
sors. During the presence of the Burman force 
in the immediate neighbourhood, and the com- 
pulsory removal of their families, they had been 
obliged to avoid all communication vdth the 
British, and to desert the town ; now, however, 
that the Burman leaders had retreated, and the 
army was scattered, they began to recover con- 
fidence, and join the invaders, in which they 
were encouraged by a proclamation issued by 


Sir A. Campbell, copies of which were conveyed 
even into the enemy's camp at Panlang, where 
the greater part of the troops consisted of Pe- 
guers. The consequence was, the desertion of 
nearly the entire division in the direction of 
Dalla, and their retreat being supported by a 
detachment sent to their succour, they eflFected 
their escape, with their wives and their children, 
to Rangoon, and the population thenceforward 
daily and rapidly returned to its original enume- 

During the period of Burman ascendancy, 
vast numbers of Peguers had sought refuge in 
the kingdom of Siam, and these also manifested, 
apparently at the suggestion of the Siamese, 
some inclination to come forward and join their 
countrymen in the Rangoon province, in an at- 
tempt to recover their political existence. Some 
of their chiefs addressed both the British com- 
mander and the head men of the towns and 
villages in Pegu, offering the assistance of the 
Siamese forces under their command, against 
the Burmans. This circumstance, and the actu- 
ally existing state of hostility between the courts 
of Bankok and Ava, were a sufficient guarantee 
of the disposition of the Siamese, although, with 


the timid and selfish policy of a semi-barbarous 
state, they were averse to committing themselves 
by any decided step in favour of a power, whose 
success they probably knew not whether to hope 
or fear. In further confirmation, however, of a 
friendly feeling, the Siamese commanders ad- 
dressed a complimentary letter to Sir A. Camp- 
bell, upon the success that had attended the 
British arms. 

On the other hand, the advance into the heart 
of the country was not without its unpropitious 
accompaniments. There was no doubt that a 
similar policy would be pursued in the interior 
that had been adopted at Rangoon, and that all 
the local resources would be removed beyond the 
reach of the invaders. It would, therefore, be 
necessary to maintain an uninterrupted commu- 
nication with Rangoon, for which purpose a con- 
siderable force mu^ be left there, and at different 
points on the line of march, and, above all, the 
navigation of the Irawadi was to be commanded 
by a numerous and well-equipped flotilla. What- 
ever carriage was required for the baggage, artil- 
lery and stores, was procurable only by sea from 
Bengal and Madras, from whence few of the 
class of bearers or coolies would consent to em- 


of various sizes. The approach to the main 
structure from the south was defended by two 
outworks^ one about four hundred yards lower 
down the nyer, and another about three hundred 
yards below it. Each was constructed of square 
beams of timber, provided with platforms and 
pierced for cannon, and was strengthened by an 
exterior fosse, the outer edge of which was 
guarded with sharp-pointed timbers, planted ob- 
liquely, and a thick abatis of felled trees and 
brushwood. The lowest outwork was a square 
of about two hundred* yards, with a pagoda in 
the centre ; the higher was of an irregular shape, 
running along the bank of a rivulet Sowing into 
the main stream ; both works were occupied by 
strong parties of the enemy. 

Having been obliged to leave a native regi- 
ment and a detachment of Europeans as a guard 
to the flotilla, General Cotton had not above six 
himdred firelocks at his disposal ; of these, five 
hundred were disembarked on the morning of 
the 7th, about a mile below the pagoda stockade, 
and formed into two columns, under Lieutenant- 
colonel Donoghue and Major Basden, with two 
six-pounders and a detachment of rocket artil- 
lery ; after receiving and returning the enemy's 


fire, the men rushed on to the stockade, and 
forced an entrance into it, with a determination 
that overpowered the resistance oflFered, although 
more resolute than had for some time been en- 
countered. The first stockade was carried with 
the loss of about twenty killed and wounded. 
The enemy fled to the next defence, leaving two 
hundred and eighty prisoners in the power of 
the assailants. 

Previously to assailing the second defence, two 
other six pounders, with four mortars, were 
brought up and placed in position, and a fresh 
supply of rockets was procured. The enemy re- 
mained quiet until the near approach of the 
storming party, when a destructive fire was 
opened from all parts of the face of the work, 
which checked the progress of the column, and 
inflicted so severe a loss upon them, that it be- 
came necessary to order a retreat. Captain Rose, 
who commanded the detachment, and Captain 
Cannon, of the 89th, were killed, and the greater 
number of the men were killed or woimded. In 
consequence of this failure. Brigadier-general 
Cotton deemed it advisable to abstain from any 
further attempt against the post, until joined by 
General Campbell, or at least reinforced; he 



therefore re-embarked the men and gons, and 
dropped down to Yoong-yoon, to await the result 
of his communication with the commander of the 

Information of the repulse at Donabew did not 
reach Sir Archibald Campbell earUer than the morn- 
ing of the 11th of March, when he had advanced 
to Yuadit about twenty-six miles above Tharawa. 
The necessity of vindicating the reputation of the 
British arms, and the dependence of the land 
column upon the flotilla for suppHes, left the 
commander-in-chief no alternative but to fall 
back upon General Cotton's division, and con- 
centrate his force for the reduction of the Dona- 
bew stockades. He accordingly returned to 
Tharawa, from which place the force had to cross 
the Irawadi with such scanty means as could be 
procured. A few small canoes were collected, 
and rafts were constructed, and in the course of 
five days, between the 13th and 18th, the passage 
of the whole division was completed, and the 
head-quarters established at Henzada. Infor- 
mation having been received, that the Kyee 
Woongyee was posted about fifteen miles from 
thence, to intercept the detachment expected in 
that direction from Bassein, a party, under Lieu- 


tenant-colonel Godwin, was sent off by night to 
endeavour to surprise him. The alarm, however, 
was given in time for the Burman force to escape ; 
but it was completely scattered without a contest, 
their commander setting the example of pre- 
cipitate flight. After halting two days at Hen- 
zada, to prepare carriage for the stores, the army 
resumed its march along the right bank, and 
came before Donabew on the 25th: a communi- 
cation was opened with the flotilla on the 27th, 
and both divisions zealously co-operated in the 
reduction of the place. Batteries, armed with 
heavy artillery, were constructed without delay. 
Spirited attempts to interrupt their progress 
were frequently made by sorties from the work ; 
and on one occasion Bundoola ordered out his 
elephants, seventeen in number, each carrying ^ 
complement of armed men, and supported by a 
body of infantry. They were gallantly charged 
by the body-guard, the horse artillery, and rocket 
troop, and the elephant drivers being killed, the 
animals made off into the jungle, whilst the troops 
retreated precipitately v^dthin their defences, into 
which rockets and shells were thrown with a 
precision that rendered the post no refuge from 


found deserted, and part of it consumed : the same 
was the case for a considerable distance along the 
course of the river, the villages being ever3rwhere 
abandoned and laid in ashes ; but this state of 
things, the result partly of the fears of the people, 
and partly of the policy of the Biuman court, was 
not of long continuance, and a few days sufficed 
to bring back the population of Prome to their 
dwelUngs. The command of the lower pro- 
vinces acquired by this position, inspiring the 
people with confidence, they soon began to re- 
sume their usual avocations, and to form markets 
along the river, and especially at Prome and 
Rangoon, by which the resources of the country 
npw began to be fully available for carriage and 
support. This was the more satisfactory, as in 
the commencement of May, the periodical change 
of seasons took place, and obliged the forqe to 
establish itself in cantonments at Prome. Pre- 
vious to the setting in of the rains, the thermo- 
meter had risen in the shade to 110°, but the 
nights remained cool, and the cUmate was not 
found unhealthy. The monsoon brought with 
it its ordinary effects upon the condition of the 
troops, especially the Europeans who, although 
they suffered less severely than at Rangoon, lost 


nearly one-seventh of their number between June 
and October. The native troops were much 
more exempt, although not wholly free from dis- 
ease; although the level of the country was 
higher than in the districts nearer the sea, yet 
the site of the town was so low as to be under 
water with the rise of the river, and to the east 
extended for many miles a plain laid out prin- 
cipally in rice cultivation. South of the town 
was a range of low hills crowned by the principal 
pagodas, and to them some of the troops were 
removed when the suburbs in which they had 
been quartered, were found liable to sudden 
inundations : supphes were in some abundance, 
and there was comparatively httle demand for 
the active services of the force : it seems probable, 
therefore, that much of the disease that still pre- 
vailed was the consequence of previous exposure 
and exhaustion, although ascribable in some 
measure to the effects of climate, and of ill-selected 
quarters for the troops. 

The temporary repose enjoyed in the canton- 
ments at Prome was, in the early part of the 
season, enlivened by the accounts of the success 
of Major Sale, in the direction of Bassein ; by 
advice of the successful repression of the kid- 


be but nominal, and the presence of an undis- 
ciplined rabble would only be formidable to the 
provinces now subjected to the British authority. 
Immediately after the occupation of Prome, 
Sir A. Campbell detached Colonel Godwin with 
a force of eight hundred infantry, a troop of the 
body guard, and two field pieces, to the east- 
ward, on the route to Tongho, the capital of the 
province of Tharawadi, in order to ascertain the 
state of the country, and the strength of the 
enemy in that direction. The force left Prome 
on the 5th of May, and marched in a north- 
easterly course till the 11th, when they came 
upon a mountainous and difficult country, beyond 
which apparently interminable forests extended. 
They then turned to the left, and moved to 
Meaday, sixty miles above Prome on the Irawadi, 
which they found deserted. They thence re- 
turned to Prome, where they arrived on the 24th. 
At setting out they disturbed a gang of plunder- 
ers, who fled and effected their escape, notwith- 
standing a party of the body guard was sent in 
pursuit, but no enemy was seen : the villages 
were all burnt, and the people living in the 
thickets : the intercourse held with them dissi- 
pated their alarms, and great numbers came into 


Prome. A stock of cattle was collected, but no 
grain, and the army continued to depend upon 
Rangoon for its principal supplies. 

The same cause that suspended the operations 
of the British force, arrested the activity of the 
court of Ava, and during this interval it was 
unable to send any armies into the field. The 
only military occurrence was the expulsion of the 
Thekia Woongyee, who had retreated to Old 
Pegu, where his force having gradually become 
thinned by desertion, the people themselves rose 
upon his detachment, and put it to the rout, 
taking prisoner a Burman chief of rank, whom 
lliey brought into Rangoon, and delivered to 
Brigadier Smith. At their request they were 
furnished with a small sipahi force for their de- 
fence against any attempt of the Thekia Woonygee 
to recover his footing in the city. The presence 
of this detachment, it was ascertained, gave much 
uneasiness to the Ava government, as supposed 
to indicate an advance upon Tongo, the garrison 
of which was accordingly reinforced. 

The capture of the stockades at Donabew, and 
the death of Bundoola, were events that excited 
the utmost consternation at Ava: no person 
about the court ventured to communicate to the 



Campbell to the ministers promised to produce 
the happiest eflEects. On the 6th September, a 
war-boat, with a flag of truce, arrived at Prome, 
and two Burman deputies, on being conducted 
to the British general, presented him with a 
letter in reply to his communication of the 6th 
of August. This letter purported to be fromi 
the general of the advanced army, acknowledg- 
ing the petitions of the English agent and officers, 
and directing them, if they wanted peace, to 
come and soUcit it. This style was not very 
conciliatory, but being the court language, it 
was not thought proper to object to it, beyond 
pointing out its impropriety to the deputies, and 
explaining to them, that although the English 
general was willing to meet the Burman authori- 
ties half-way, he could not condescend to seek them 
in their entrenchments. They admitted the force 
of the objection, and proposed that two officers 
should be deputed to the Burman commanders, 
which request was readily complied with, and in 
order that, if necessary, full powers to negociate 
might be obtained from Ava, the British general 
proposed to grant a suspension of hostilities for 
a term of thirty or forty days. This proposal, 
the deputies expressed their conviction, would be 


concurred in by the Burman leaders. The 
deputies returned to their entrenchments on the 
following day, accompanied by Lieut.-colonel 
Tidy, deputy adjutant general, and Lieutenant 
. Smith, of his Majesty's ship Alligator. 

The British oflBcers were met on their way, by 
a flotilla of war-boats, having on board several 
chiefs of rank, who escorted them to the Bur- 
man advanced cantonments, about a mile from 
Meaday. On their arrival there, they were re- 
ceived with every demonstration of respect, and 
conducted through a guard of two thousand 
men, armed with muskets, to a house prepared 
for their accommodation. On the following day, 
a deputation visited them from the Kyee-Woon- 
gyee, the chief in command, to assure them of 
his anxiety to conclude a pacific treaty ; but re- 
questing them not to urge immediate negotia- 
tion, as it would be necessary to receive instruc- 
tions from Memia-Bo, who was at MeUoon. The 
British deputies having acceded to this proposal, 
were treated in the interval with the greatest 
possible attention and kindness; no guard was 
set over their movements, and all comers had 
free access to them, which afforded them ample 
opportunity of learning thie sentiments of indi- 



viduals of every rank who were unanimous in 
expressing a hope that hostilities were about to 
cease. On the 18th of September, the of&eers 
waited, by appointment, on the Kyee-Woongyee, 
but the result of the interview was their assent . 
to wait two or three days longer for the arrival 
of instructions. On the 16th, it was intimated 
to them that foil powers had arrived, and on the 
17th, they again visited the Kyee-Woongyee, 
when it was settled that the latter should meet 
General Campbell at Naibenzeik, a place midf 
way between the two armies, on the 2nd of Oe-r 
tober, to discuss the conditions of peace, and, in 
the meantime, the terms of an armistice were 
agreed upon between them and the Atweur Woon 
Menghie Maha Menla Baja, and Wondok Men- 
ghi Maha Senkuyah. By this stipulation, hostir 
lities were suspended till the 17th of October; 
the line of demarcation was drawn from Comma, 
on the eastern bank of the Jrawadi, through Nai- 
benzeik to Tongo. The armistice included all 
the troops on the frontiers in other parts of the 
dominions of Ava, none of whom should make 
a forward movement before the 1 8th of October. 
With respect to the meeting of the 2nd of the 
ensuing month, it was also settled, that two 


officers on either part should meet on the 28rd 
of September, at Naibenzeik, to determine the 
requisite arrangements, and as it was contrary to 
etiquette for the Burman minister to move with 
a less escort than one thousand men, half armed 
with muskets and half with swords, the option 
was given to General Campbell to be similarly 
attended. On the conclusion of these prelimi- 
nary negotiations. Colonel Tidy and Lieutenant 
Smith returned to Prome. 

On the 30th of September, the British general 
proceeded to Naibenzeik, assisted at his request, 
as conunissioner, by Sir James Brisbane, com- 
mander of his Majesty's naval forces in the 
Indian seas, who had arrived at Rangoon, in his 
Majesty's ship Tamar, early in September, and 
reached Prome on the 22nd, where he assumed 
the direction of the operations by water. The 
ground was found prepared for the encampment 
of the respective chiefs, with their attendants, 
and a lotoo, or hall of audience, erected in the . 
intermediate space, equi-distant fix)m the British 
and the Burman lines. At a few minutes before 
two o'clock, on the 2nd of October, two Burman 
officers of rank arrived in the camp to conduct 
Sir A. Campbell to the Lotoo ; Lieut.-colonel 


Tidy and Lieutenant Smith, R.N., were des- 
patched at the same time to the Burman canton- 
ment, to pay a similar compliment to the Kyee- 
Woongyee. At two o'clock, Major-general Sir A. 
Campbell and Commodore Sir J. Brisbane, ac- 
companied by their respective suites, proceeded 
to the Lotoo, and met the Burman commissioners, 
the Kyee-Woongyee and Lamain Woon, entering 
the hall, arrayed in splendid state dresses. After 
the whole party were seated. Sir A. Campbell 
opened the conference with an appropriate ad- 
dress to the Woongyees, who replied in courteous 
and suitable terms, and expreissed their hope that 
the first day of their acquaintance might be given 
up to private friendship, and the consideration 
of public business deferred until the next meet- 
ing. This was assented to, and a desultory 
conversation then ensued, in the course of which 
the Woongyees conducted themselves in the 
most polite and conciliatory manner, inquiring 
after the latest news from England, the state of 
the King's health, and similar topics, and offer- 
ing to accompany Sir A. Campbell to Rangoon, 
England, or wherever he might propose. 

On the following day, the appointed meeting 
took place, for the purpose of discussing formally 


the terms of peace, at which the following officers 
were present on the side of the British, Major 
General Sir A. Campbell, Commodore Sir J. 
Brisbane, Brigadier-general Cotton, Captain 
Alexander, Brigadier McCreagh, Lieutenant-colo- 
nel Tidy, and Captain Snodgrass. 

On the part of the government of Ava, the 
chiefs present were Sada Mengyee Maha Mengom- 
KyeeWoongyee,Munnoo Rutha Keogong Lamain 
Woon, Mengyee Maha Menla Rajah Atwenwoon, 
Maha Srt Senkuyah Woondok, Mengyee Maha 
Menla Sear Sey Shuagon Mooagoonoon, Mengyee 
Attala Maha Sri Soo Asseewoon. 

The principal conditions of peace proposed by 
the English commissioners, were the non-inter- 
ference of the court of Ava with the territories 
of Kachar, Manipur, and Asam, the cession of 
the four provinces of Arakan, the payment of 
two crores of rupees, as an indemnification for 
the expenses of the war, one to be paid imme- 
diately, and the Tenasserim provinces to be 
retained imtil the liquidation of the other. The 
court of Ava was also expected to receive a 
British resident at the capital, and consent to 
a commercial treaty, upon principles of liberal 
intercourse and mutual advantage. 


In the dificussion of tiiese stipulations^ it was 
evident, notwithstanding the moderate tone of 
the Burman deputies, and their evident desire 
for the termination of the war, that the court of 
Ava was not yet reduced to a fiill sense of its 
inferiority, nor prepared to make any sacrifice, 
either territorial or pecuniary for the restora- 
tion of tranquiUity. The protection given to 
fugitives from the Burman territories, was urged 
in excuse for the conduct of the Burman court, 
although the actual occurrence of 'the war 
was attributed to the malignant designs of evil 
councillors, who had misrepresented the real 
state of things, and suppressed the remonstrances 
addressed by the government of India to that 
of Ava, thus virtually acknowledging the mode- 
ration of the former government. It was also 
pleaded, that in the interruption of trade and 
the loss of revenue, the court of Ava had ah'eady 
suffered sufficiently by the war, and that it be- 
came a great nation like the English to be con- 
tented with the vindication of its name and repu- 
tation, and that they could not possibly be less 
generous than the Chinese, who, on a former 
occasion, having conquered part of the Burman 
territory, restored it on the return of peace. 


To this it was replied, the Chinese were the 
vanquished, not the victors, whilst the British 
were in possession of half the kingdom, the 
most valuable portion of which they were still 
willing to relinquish ; but that as the war had 
been wholly unprovoked on their part, they 
were fuUy entitled to expect such concessions, 
in territory Qud money, as should reimburse 
them for the expenses they had incurred, anc} 
enable them to guard more effeetually against 
any future collision. The manner in which 
these points were urged satisfying the Woon- 
gyees of the firmness of the British commissioners, 
they at last waived all further objections, and 
confined themselves to requesting a prolongation 
of the armistice till the 2nd of November, in 
order that they might put the court fully in 
possession of the views pf the British negoci- 
ators, and be empowered to give them a defini- 
tive reply, This request was readily acceded 
to. On the representation of the British General, 
the Woongyees also pledged themselves that all 
British and American subjects detained at Ava, 
should immediately be set at liberty, the British 
government liberating the Burmas taken on the 
coast and confined in Bengal. On the day after 


this conference the Barman officers dined with 
the British general, and this intermixture of 
friendly hospitality with the prosecotion of hos- 
tilities, whilst it excited their astonishment, 
taught them a lesson of civilization, which it is 
to be hoped may not have proved in vain. The 
Burman character, although not worthy of im- 
plicit trust, is far from suspicious, and no feel- 
ing of uneasiness or alarm appeared to impair 
their enjoyment of British hospitality. The 
parties separated well pleased with each other. 
Captain Alexander and Brigadier McCreagh ac- 
companied the Kyee Woongyee to near Meaday^ 
and three of the Burman chiefs attended Sir A. 
Campbell to Prome. 

The notion of treating upon a perfect equality, 
which evidently pervaded the recent negotiations 
on the part of the Burman commissioners, and 
which probably originated not only in the haugh- 
tiness of the court of Ava, but in an impression 
entertained by it, to which the acknowledged 
anxiety of the British authorities for peace had 
given rise, that they were enabled or disinclined 
to carry on the war, rendered the ultimate result 
of the conferences at Naibenzeik little problem- 
atical, and arrangements for resuming hostile 


operations were actively pursued. Their neces- 
sity was soon evinced. The court of Ava, indig- 
nant at the idea of conceding an inch of territory, 
or submitting to what, in oriental poKtics, is held 
a mark of excessive humiUation, payment of any 
pecuniary indemnification, breathed nothing but 
defiance, and determined instantly to prosecute 
the war. With more regard to the existing 
treaty, however, than was to have been expected 
from the Burman commanders, no operations of 
a decidedly hostile character was attempted by 
them; and although, in the end of October, 
several Burman parties passed the line of demar- 
cation, and pillaged and burnt the villages within 
the British lines, these outrages were attributable 
to the difiiculty of checking so ill-organised a 
force, under the immediate expectation of renewed 
hostiUties, rather than to any design of the com- 
manders to violate the terms of a solemn stipula- 
tion. In the pause that ensued before hostiUties 
were renewed, Sir Archibald Campbell addressed 
the Kyee Woongyee, relative to the prisoners, 
whose liberation was refused on the plea of tfoops 
having moved by way of Negrais to Rangoon ; 
and in reply to his inquiry, as to the probable 
termination of the truce, that chief intimated, 


that the demand for any oeasioii of mon^ or ter-* 
ritory, precluded all possibility of a friendly in- 
tercourse. Nothing remained, therefore, but a 
farther appeal to arms. 

The information of the last &w weeks, had 
fully established the assemblage of a rery con- 
siderable force along the line of the river, between 
Meaday and Ava, which was gradually drawing 
towards the British position at Frome. From a 
direct attack, there was nothing to apprehend, 
but any sericMis movement on either flank might 
have been attended with some inconvenience. 
In order to oppose an advance on the right. 
Colonel Pepper was stationed in Old Pegu, 
whilst it was thought the detachment at Bassein, 
after the division at Donabew had been with- 
drawn, would be a sufficient check against any 
annoyance from this quarter. The chief point, 
however, was to keep the enemy on the alert in 
the line of his immediate advance, and draw his 
attention as much as possible to Frome. Upon 
the close of the armistice, the state of the country, 
and the yet incomplete concentration of resources, 
rendered the forward movement of the whole 


army impracticable ; but Sir A. Campbell lost 
no time in detaching a force to drive the Bur- 


BQfifi back from an advanced position wlych they 
occupied at Wattigaon, about twentj miles from 
Prome. With this view, Colonel MacdowaU 
|][ifffched with two trades of Madras native 
infantry^ to attach the post from the left, and 
MajcH* £vans« with the 22nd native infantry, wa$i 
Qrdered to n^ove upon the front of the position* 
and attack in pgncert with tibe main body, whilst 
the l^th native infantry was advanced to support 
the 22nd, if required. The 38th native in£eaitry 
also wa^ sent round by Saagee, to make a diver*- 
sion in favour (^ the assailants. The state of the 
road did not admit of artillery being attached to 
either column. 

The result of this attempt was disastrous. 
The main body marched on the evening of the 
1 6tb of November. Cta the morning of the 1 6th» 
they encpimtered the Burmese in great force, 
who maintained a spirited contest ; and, although 
fpreed to fall back, kept up a fierce and destructive 
fire, as they slowly retreated to tiieir works in the 
rear, which proved to be too strong for the at*- 
tacking force to carry by storm, and which their 
want of artillery prevented them from breaching. 
In attempting, however, to ov^wme the fire of 
the enemy, wd approach the works, the officers 


set their men the example of personal exposure, 
and, consequently, sustained a severe loss. Col* 
onel Macdowall himself was shot in the head by 
a musket ball, and four of the junior officers were 
disabled and carried from the field. lieutenant* 
colonel Brooke, who succeeded in the command, 
finding it impracticable to make any impression 
on the post; was compelled to order a retreat. 
This was effected with as much regularity as cir-> 
cumstances would permit, the country being a 
thick jungle, in which the enemy lurked in great 
numbers, keeping up a galling fire. After a 
march of severe fatigue, in which a number of 
the wounded and exhausted were unavoidably 
left behind, the detachment came to a nulla, 
about nine miles from Prome, where the enemy 
desisted from pursuit, their attention having 
been diverted by the movements of the other 

Major Evans having marched on the night of 
the 1 5th, fell in with the enemy's picquets at day- 
break on the following morning. After driving 
them back, he proceeded to an opening in the 
jungle, when he was checked by a very heavy 
fire from a strong stockade, by which the light 
company, who had preceded the advance, were 


almost aunihilated, and the men of the other 
companies struck down in considerable numbers. 
The firing in the direction of Colonel Macdowall's 
column had been heard early in the morning, but 
as no appearance of their co-operation was indi- 
cated, and the enemy were in much too great a- 
number for a single regiment to make an im- 
pression on them, Major Evans also retreated. 
The enemy pursued for about three miles, and 
harassed the rear, but the corps effected its 
return after a fatiguing march in good order. 
In this division, as well as Colonel Macdowall's, 
many of those who fell on the march, through 
wounds or fatigue, were left behind : the dooly 
bearers having, at an early stage, thrown down 
their loads, and fled into the thicket. 

The 38 th regiment, under colonel Smith, ap- 
proached Wattigaon, only about twelve o'clodc 
on the 1 6th, and then fell in with what appeared 
to be the rear of the enemy, at this time engaged 
in the pursuit of the main division. On the first 
appearance of the corps, the Burmese fled, but 
no traces of the main division being visible, and 
the firing having ceased. Colonel Smith found it 
necessary to measure back his course to Prome, 
which he reached after a fatiguing march, without 


eacountering any opposition. The lo6s on this 
occasion was severe ; besides Colonel MacdowaU 
killed, thirteen officers were wounded, of whom 
Lieutenant Banken, of the 43rd regiment, sub- 
sequently died of his wounds : fifty-three rank 
and file were killed, and about one hundred and 
fifty were reported wounded and missing. The 
principal cause of this disaster appears to have 
been misinformation as to the enemy's strength, 
as, instead of two or three thousand, at which 
their numbers were originally computed. Major 
Evans estimated those opposed to him to be not 
fewer than five thousand ; whilst those engaged 
by the main division were reckoned, by Lieu- 
tenant-colonel Brooke, at between ten and twelve 
thousand men. The position was also one of 
considerable strength, and, from the density of 
jungle, of difficult access. 

The ultimate consequences of this disaster 
were not unfavourable, as it encouraged the 
Burman generals in the high opinion they were 
still rather inclined to entertain, of their own 
prowess, and induced them to adopt a system 
of confident warfare, which brought them within 
the reach of the British commander. Relying 
on the manifestation of their purpose to attack 


him in his position, General CampbeU detCTmined 
to await their advance, and the enemy soon 
made their appearance ronnd Prome, to the 
extent it was estimated, of between fifty and 
sixty thousand men. As, from their numbers, 
they were spread over a considerable tract of 
coraitry, they were enabled to detach partis 
past both flanks of the British position, by which 
the conmnmication with Rangoon was threatened, 
and the districts below Frome, on both banks- 
of the river, exposed to the depredation of 
irregular and marauding bands. The entire 
command of the river by ttie British flotilla 
gave them an important advantage, and on the 
western bank, a position at Padown-mew was 
occupied by a small detachment in concert with 
the river force, and maintained with great spirit 
against repeated attempts of the enemy to dis- 
lodge them: a detachment was also sent out 
under Lieutenant-colonel Godwin to Shudaun, 
which cleared the left bank of the river of the 
enemy for ten miles below Prome, and a party 
of Burmas having fired upon a division of the 
87th, on their way to join the army, the men 
landed and dispersed the assailants. 

After awaiting for some days the expected ap- 


proach of the Bunnan force. General Campbell, 
finding that they were reluctant to quit the cover 
of the jungle, and that they continued to haerass 
the country, and disturb the line of communica- 
tion, determined to make a general attack upon 
every accessible part of the enemy's line to the 
east of the Irawadi, which extended from the 
Napadee hills, a commanding ridge on the bank 
of the river, to the villages of Simbike and Sem- 
beh inland, about eleven miles to the north-east 
of Prome. The Burman army was divided into 
three corps : the right was formed on^ the western 
bank of the river ; the centre was stationed upon . 
the hills of Theybu, or Napadee, and commimi- 
cated through a thick forest by a line of posts 
with the left, which was posted at Simbike, upon 
the Nawine river, which, running past Prome, 
fell into the Irawadi. The left was commanded 
by Maha Nemijo, the centre by the Kyee-Woon- 
gyee, and the right by the Sada Woon ; the di- 
visions were all strongly stockaded, and occupied 
positions of difficult approach. 

Leaving four regiments of native infiantry for 
the defence of Prome, General Campbell marched 
early on the morning of the 1st of December 
against the enemy's left, whilst the flotilla, under 


Sir James Brisbane, and the 26th Madras native 
infcgitry acting in co-operation, by a cannonade 
of the works upon the river, diverted the atten- 
tion of the centre from the real point of attack. 
Upon reaching the Nawine river, at the village 
of Zeouke, the force was divided into two 
columns. The right, under Brigadier-general 
Cotton, formed of his Majesty's 41st and 89th 
regiments and the 18th and 28th native infantry 
proceeding along the left bank of the river, came 
in front of the enemy's entrenchments consisting 
of a series of stockades covered on eitl^ flank 
by thick jungle, and by the river & the rear^ 
and defended by a considerable force, of whom 
eight thousand were Shans, or people of Laos, 
imder their native chiefs. The post was imme- 
diately stormed. The attack was led by Lieu- 
tenant-colonel Godwin, with the advanced guard 
of the right column, and the stockades were 
carried in less than ten minutes. The enemy 
left three hundred dead, including their general 
Maha Nemyo, and all their stores and ammuni- 
tion and a considerable quantity of arms were 
taken. The left column, under the Commander- 
in-chief, composed of his Majesty's 13th, 38th, 
47th, and 87th regiments, and 38th Madras 



infantry, which had crossed the Nawine river 
lower down, came up as the fugitives were 
crossing, and completed the dispersion of the 
Bumian army. 

Following up the advantage thus gained. 
General Campbell determined to attack the 
Kyee Woongyee in his position without delay. 
His force accordingly marched back to Zeouke, 
where they bivouacked for the night, and re- 
sumed their march on the following morning 
at day-break. The nature of the country ad- 
mitted of no approach to the enemy's defences 
upon the hills, except in front, and that by a 
narrow pathway, accessible to but a limited 
number of men in line. Their posts at the foot 
of the hills were more readily assailable, and 
from these they were speedily driven ; but the 
attack of the heights was a more formidable 
task, as the narrow road by which they were 
approached, was commanded by the enemy's 
artillery and breast- works numerously manned. 
After some impression had been apparently made 
by the artillery and rockets, the first Bengal 
brigade, consisting of his Majesty's 13th and 
38th regiments, advanced to the storm, supported 
on the right by six companies of his Majesty's 


87th. They made good their ascent in spite of 
the heavy fire they encountered, and to which 
scarcely a shot was returned ; and when they 
had gained the summit, they drove the enemy 
from hill to hill, until they had cleared the 
whole of the formidable and extensive entrench- 
ments. These brilliant advantages were not 
gained without loss, and in the affair of the 1st, 
Lieutenants Sutherland and Gossip, of his 
Majesty's 41st, and Ensign Campbell, of the 
royal regiment, were killed, and Lieutenant 
Proctor, of his Majesty's 38th, Lieutenant Baylee 
of the 87th, and Captain Dawson, of his Majes- 
ty's ship Arachne, in that of the 2nd. The 
division under General Cotton which had made 
a circuitous march to take the enemy in flank 
was unable to make its way through the jungle 
in time to bear part in the enga|emeBl Sn 
the 6th, a detachment from it proceeded across 
the river, and drove the right wing of the enemy 
not only from their post upon the river, but 
from a strong stockade about half a mile in the 
interior, completely manned and mounting guns. 
The enemy were dispersed with severe loss in 
killed and prisoners, and their defences were 
set on fire. 



The l>cDcficial results of this action were im- 
mediately apparent in the disappearance of the 
flanking parties of the enemy, and the re-estab- 
hshment of a free communication along the river; 
hut in order to realise all the advantages to 
which it was calculated to lead, Sir A. Campbell 
immediately advanced in pursuit of the retreat- 
ing army. As it was known that the enemy had 
fortified the positions along the river from Meaday 
to Paloh, and had strengthened them with great 
labour against the direct hne of attack, Greneral 
Campbell determined to move upon them circuit- 
ously with one division of his force, so as to turn 
them as high as Palha, whilst another division 
proceeded along the river, communicating and 
co-operating with the flotilla. Of the first divi- 
sion he took the command himself; the second 
was placed under Brigadier-general Cotton, and 
the flotilla proceeded under Commodore Brisbane, 
having on board a military force, commanded 
by Brigadier Armstrong. General Campbell 
marched on the 9th of December to Wattigaon : 
on the 11th the column was detained by a heavy 
fall of rain, which continued for thirty hours, 
rendering the roads almost impassable, injuring 
a considerable quantity of commissariat stores^ 


and inducing extensive sickness amongst the 
troops ; cholera, in particular, became alarmingly 
prevalent both in this and General Cotton's 
division, but luckily was not of long continuance. 
In consequence of these causes of detention, the 
column did not reach Palha till the 16th, when 
it came into communication with the other 
divisions. The enemy having abandoned Mea- 
day, having been weakened by the prevalence 
of cholera to a fatal extent amongst them. 
General Campbell pushed on to Tabboo with 
the advance, whence he detached the body 
guard in pursuit, who overtook the Burman 
rear about five miles beyond Meaday, and made 
some prisoners. General Campbell fixed his 
head-quarters at Meaday on the 19th. 

The column under General Cotton moved on 
the 13th December, and on the 16th, approached 
Palha ; but just below that place was stopped by 
a deep nulla, across which it was necessary to 
throw a bridge. On the 18th, the division crossed, 
and encamped at Inggown on the 19th. On the 
road, the column passed the enemy's stockades 
below Palha, which, had they been defended, 
could not have been carried without great loss 
the stockades extending along rugged and deep 


ravines, and being screened by a tbick bamboo 
jungle, 80 as not to be visible till the road led to 
within a few yards of them. These defences 
were, however, abandoned, and the villages every- 
where deserted. 

The flotilla moved on the morning of the 12th 
December, and worked up against the current 
with great labour, but failed to encounter that 
opposition for which the extraordinary strength of 
the works along the river had been prepared. 
The channel of the river being also, in many 
.places, so narrow, as to obUge the boats to pass 
within two hundred yards of either bank, the 
passage, if opposed, could not have been forced 
without sustaining considerable loss. Their de- 
feats, however, early in the month, and the un- 
expected movement of the main force on the flank 
of their positions, seem to have disconcerted the . 
Burman commanders, and they precipitately re- 
treated to Melloon on the right bank of the Ira- 
wadi. Their losses in the field, and by desertion, 
had hkewise been augmented by the ravages of 
disease, and the road was strewn with the dying 
and the dead, or the mangled remains of the 
Burmese, who had perished in vast numbers on 
the retreat. At a short distance from Meaday, it 


became necessary to halt the European part of 
the force, owing to a failure in the supply of 
animal food. Sir A. Campbell, however, moved 
on with the Madras division towards Melloon. 
The flotilla also proceeded on its route. 

On the 26th of December, General Campbell 
was met on his march by a flag of truce, with a 
letter expressing the wish of the Burman com- 
manders to conclude a peace, and proposing that 
the leaders, on both sides, should meet to deter- 
mme its conditions. The same oflScers who were 
employed on the like duty on a former occasion, 
Lieutenant-colonel Tidy and Lieutenant Smith, 
R.N., were deputed to ascertain what arrange- 
ment was contemplated by the Woongyees, and, 
in the meantime, the army continued its march 
to Patanagoh, opposite to the Burman entrench- 
ments of Melloon. It arrived at Mingeoun on the 
the 28th, where a letter was received from the 
Burman general, postponing the meeting till the 
24th of January, a delay that was declared in- 
admissible, and a definitive reply was demanded 
before sun-set on the 29th, at Patanagoh, where 
the army arrived, and encamped without molesta- 
tion. The flotilla also ascended the river, and 
anchored above the Burman lines^ without ex- 


pericncing any demonstration of hostility; an in- 
dication of the sincerity of the Burman comman- 
ders. At about a mile to the south, the river 
which is there much contracted, was entirely 
commanded by a strong work mounting several 
guns, which could not have been passed without 
loss, had any opposition been offered. 

In the communications that ensued. Sir A. 
Campbell was assisted by Mr. Robertson, the 
Civil Commissioner in Pegu and Ava, who had 
been appointed to the general superintendence 
of the civil affairs in the provinces under British 
authority, and to the conduct, jointly with the 
('ouuuandcr-in-Chief, of political intercourse with 
the court of Ava. Mr. Robertson arrived at 
Rangoon in October, and joined the army at 
Prome on the 27th November. Shortly after his 
turival, arrangements were made for the civil ad- 
ministration of Rangoon, Bassein, Martaban, and 
Ye, as well as for the collection of the revenue, 
from such parts of the country as had not 
Huffered from the desolating system of Burman 

In the train of the commissioner, was a Bur- 
man priest^ designated as the Raj-gooroo, the 
spiritual preceptor of royalty, who, with his fol- 


lowers had been allowed to return from Bengal. 
At the breaking out of the war, this person had 
been travelling, ostensibly, for purposes of devo- 
tion, in Hindustan, and after leaving Benares was 
arrested by the British authority at Lucknow. 
After being detained some time in Calcutta, he 
was liberated, and sent back to Rangoon, and he 
reached Prome in the suite of Mr. Robertson. As 
the period of his arrival was the eve of important 
military operations, he was not allowed to pro- 
ceed immediately on his journey ; but, after the 
defeat of the Kyee Woongyee at Napadee, and the 
advance of the army to Meaday, he was permitted 
to continue his route, and was furnished with a pri- 
vate note, expressive of the undiminished readi- 
ness of the British officers, to grant peace to the 
court of Ava upon Uberal conditions, which it was 
expected he would communicate to his master. It 
seems doubtful if he displayed much anxiety to 
smooth the way to the restoration of tranquillity, 
and it is probable that his influence was little felt 
in any respect. The Burman priests, generally, 
possess but a slight hold upon the minds of the 
people, and the personal character of the king 
rendered it unlikely that he would listen to the 
councils of the Gooroo. 



In the present instance, however, a sufficient 
interval had not elapsed for the Gooroo's interfe- 
rence to have produced any eflFect at Ava, although, 
from the letters of the Burman generals, it appeared 
that he had been instrumental in inducing them to 
make their present overture. Kolein Woongyee, 
who had lately joined the army, had been fur- 
nished with authority to enter upon negociations, 
and had been sent from the court for that pur- 
pose. There could be no doubt of the prevailing 
feeling amongst all ranks of Burmans. The war 
had long been most unpopular; the best troops 
of the state had been destroyed or disorganised ; 
the new levies raised to supply their place, were 
of the worst description, procured at an immense 
expense, and were thinned by desertion the mo- 
ment they took the field. Most of the members 
of the Lotoo, or great council, and the king's own 
relations, warmly advocated peace, and he was 
well inclined to listen to their advice. The 
queen, and the small party of her kindred and 
adherents, still, however, counselled opposition, 
and the pride of a barbaric sovereign could ill 
stoop to make the sacrifices, by which alone tran- 
quillity was to be purchased. The advance of the 
British army from Napadee seems, however, to 


have turned the scale in favour of pacific councils, 
and Kolein Woongyee was, in consequence, sent 
from Ava to Melloon, to endeavour to set a treaty 
on foot. In this he was cordially seconded by 
the Kyee Woongyee, who, although he continued 
high in command, and discharged his duties with 
credit, was, throughout, opposed to the war. 

After some unimportant preUminary discussions, 
it was agreed that Sir A. Campbell, Mr. Robert- 
son, and Sir James Brisbane, whom the British 
Commissioners solicited to co-operate with them 
in the pending negociations, should hold a con- 
ference with Kolein Menghee and the Kyee 
Woongyee, on the Irawadi, between Patanagoh 
and Melloon, in a boat fitted up by the Burmese 
for that purpose. The first conference took place 
on the afternoon of the 30th December; each 
party was accompanied by fifty unarmed atten- 
dants, and the conference was pubUc. At the 
first meeting, the terms were stated generally, 
and their further discussion postponed till the 
next day. On this occasion, Kolein Menghee 
declared, that, besides the general orders issued 
by the court to make peace, he had lately received 
particular instructions to that effect, and that his 
acts were to be considered as those of the king. 


On tho lu'xt (lav, the Burman commissioners 
iui't'ili'd to those tonus which were previously 
proiHWttl as the basis of the treaty, with the ad- 
ihtioii of the provinces of Yc, Tavai, and Mergui, 
which were now inchidcd amongst the demands 
for territorial concession. The pecmiiary demand 
was rcchic(*d to one crore of rupees. 

A third interview, for the purpose of adjusting 
the i)aynient of the stipidated indemnification, 
was to have taken place on the 1st of January ; 
but Kolein Menghee being unwell, it was deferred 
till the '2ml. The Burmese chief requested the 
aid of an English doctor, and assistant-surgeon 
Knox was selected, for his conversancy with the 
language, to wait upon him. On the 2nd, the 
meeting took place, when the Burman commis- 
niisioners endeavoured strenuously to evade the 
money payment, which they asserted the country 
was unable to make, and they soUcited its remis- 
sion as an act of charity. They were also very 
reluctant to concede the province of Arakan, as 
compromising the national honour ; and, with 
respect to Manipur, they declared that they had 
no objection to withdraw from all interference 
with the affaurs of that country, although they 
htiitat^ to acknowledge Gambhir Singh as the 


Raja, as they asserted that the person whom they 
regarded as the lawful prince was residing under 
the protection of the court at Ava. Finding, 
however, the British commissioners could not be 
induced to deviate from the conditions stipulated, 
they finally yielded, and Kolein Menghee closed 
the conference by exclaiming, " Now we shall be 
excellent friends." The English copy of the 
treaty was signed on the 2nd, the Burmese on 
the 3rd of January, and an armistice was agreed 
upon till the 18th of January, by which period it 
was expected the treaty would receive the ratifica- 
tion of the king, and would be returned from 
Ava, and that all prisoners would be deUvered up 
and the payment of the first instalment com- 

During the conferences, the Burman commis- 
sioners repeatedly declared their being furnished 
with full powers, and their firm persuasion, that 
whatever they agreed to, the king would ratify ; 
they expressed their entire satisfaction with the 
spirit in which the negociations had been con- 
ducted by the British commissioners, and their 
gratification at the prospect of a speedy renewal 
of friendly relations: they made no secret of 
their motives, and frankly and unreservedly ad- 


mitted, that the king had been ruined by the 
war ; that the resources of the country were ex- 
hausted ; and that the road to Ava was open to 
the British army. There appeared every reason 
to credit their assertions, and all who had an 
opportunity of exercising personal observation 
were impressed with the conviction, that the 
negociators were honest. 

To the treaty now agreed upon, the Siamese 
were made a party, as far as regarded the estab- 
lishment of amicable relations. Although they 
had taken no part in the war, they had continued 
their military demonstrations. In December, a 
letter was received by Captain Fenwick, at Mar- 
taban, from the Ron na Ron, announcing that he 
was on his march towards the Pegu frontier, 
with a Siamese army, and had moved to Kam- 
boori on his way. It was, accordingly, arranged 
by the commissioners, that Captain Williamson 
should be attached to the Siamese, and a letter 
was addressed to the ministers of Siam, in en- 
couragement of the disposition thus manifested. 
In the meantime, however. Captain Bumey had 
been despatched by the supreme government to 
congratulate the king of Siam upon his accession, 
the former sovereign having expired on the 22nd 


of July, 1824. His remains were burnt on the 
6th of May, 1826, agreeably to the Siamese cus- 
tom, which delays the ceremony for about a year 
from a sovereign's demise. His successor was 
crowned on the 4th of August, and Captain 
Bumey reached Bangkok on the 4th of December. 
He found the Siamese court much aUve to what 
was passing in their vicinity, but rather sceptical 
as to the extent of the advantages gained by the 
EngUsh over the Burmas, and by no means con- 
fident of the ultimate termination of the war. 
Neither was it any part of their policy to take an 
active share in it, or their wish to contribute to 
the re-establishment of Pegu, as an independent 
kingdom. The court of Siam would have been 
well pleased to have recovered the Tenasserim 
provinces, which had been wrested from them by 
the Burman arms, but they hesitated to render 
the services that might have entitled them to 
some compensation, not only in the uncertainty 
of the return they might expect, but in mistrust 
of their own army, composed as that was, in a 
great degree, of Peguers, and commanded by a 
general of Pegu extraction. It was very evident, 
therefore, that they were by no means in earnest 
in any intention to co-operate in the war, and 


the objects of the envoy were limited to iframe a 
treaty of friendly and commercial intercourse, to 
adjust some disputes of local importance, and 
procure the release of the individuals carried into 
captivity, in which he fully succeeded. 

The establishment of the independence of Pegu 
v^rould have been a serious infliction upon the 
Burman state, and was well deserved by its pro- 
crastinating the war. The measure might have 
been carried into effect with extreme faciUty, as 
the bulk of the inhabitants of the lower provinces 
were of Pegu, or Talien origin, and were well 
enough disposed to shake off" the heavy yoke of 
their Burman conquerors. At the same time, 
there were obvious objections to the arrangement. 
The people were very much mixed with the Bur- 
man race, and their characters indicated neither 
personal intrepidity nor national spirit, which 
could have been relied upon as available in un- 
dertaking their defence: neither did it appear 
that any individual of rank or influence existed, 
round whom the population would have rallied, 
as the common object of their reverence or at- 
tachment. Subsequent events did not invaUdate 
these conclusions, as, in the short-Uved insurrec- 
tion which immediately followed the war, the 


Taliens displayed neither steadiness nor valour ; 
and the person who came forward as their leader 
was an individual who had actively opposed the 
British, and who derived his importance from his 
connexion with the royal family of Ava, not Pegu, 
his sister having been one of the wives of the 
present king. The only persons of any import- 
ance in Pegu were the head men of the villages, 
who had been all appointed under the Burman 
rule, and the Ron na Ron, a general in a foreign 
service, boasted no higher an origin than that of 
the head man of Martaban, which situation had 
been held by his father under the Burman 
government. The burthen of maintaining Pegu 
in its independence, must, therefore, have fallen 
entirely upon the British power, and in the diffi- 
culty of nominating a ruler, it would, probably, 
have been compelled to assume the sovereignty, 
involving an extension of dominion compatible 
neither with its policy nor advantage. These 
considerations induced the commissioners to ab- 
stain from urging any stipulation to this effect, 
and to reserve it as an extremity, to which the 
obstinate perseverance of the court of Ava, in a 
course of hostility, might compel them to resort. 
In the interval that elapsed before the close of 


efforts of all concerned in the attack were of the 
most meritorious description, but to none was the 
success due in a greater degree than to the ar- 
tillery and rocket corps, under Lieutenant-colonel 
Hopkinson and Lieutenant Blake. The precision 
and rapidity of the practice in both branches, 
spread destruction and panic through the Burman 
entrenchments, and paralysing the energies of 
the defenders, enabled the assailants to reap the 
fruits of their daring with so comparatively trifling 
a sacrifice of life. 

The original treaty was found in the lines of 
Melloon, and from this, and from letters ascribed 
to the Raj-gooroo taken at the same time, it seemed 
probable, that the Burman commissioners had 
been playing a treacherous part, and had sought 
only to protract the war by their negociations for 
peace, to which they had never intended to obtain 
the sanction of the king. As far, however, as the 
Burman commissioners are concerned, subsequent 
information exonerates them from the imputation 
of insincerity. A copy of the treaty was sent to 
Ava. The treaty which they signed was not sub- 
mitted, for, in the formal execution of it they 
had rather exceeded their powers, and presumed 
to anticipate the intentions of their royal master. 


Their offer to pay a portion of the instaknent, 
and the discovery of a sum of money in their 
possession, were further evidences of their inte- 
grity, as were their offer to deliver hostages for 
the release of the European prisoners at Ava, and 
their actual liberation of Lieutenant Flood, of his 
Majesty's 12th. There is no reason, therefore, to 
suspect them of any want of candour, nor is it 
doubtful, that the court was anxious for peace. 
The terms of the treaty were however unquestion- 
ably very unpalatable, and the cession of Arakan, 
and the payment of money, most galling to the feel- 
ings of the king and those about him. That he 
should hesitate to give them his acquiescence was 
not surprising, and those who advocated despe- 
rate resistance, taking advantage of this mood, 
urged him to vdthhold his final concurrence. 
Whilst he thus fluctuated, a chief, whose incap- 
city was only equalled by his presumption, volun- 
teered his services to lead another army against 
the English, and promised to retrieve the sinking 
glory of the empire. As a last hope, his offers 
were accepted, and it was resolved to try once 
more the fortune of war. The opportunity was 
not long wanting. 

In the meantime, advices of the capture of 



pare for either alternative, and refresh his troops 
after their late fatigues, Sir A. Campbell halted 
the army for a few days at Pagahm. 

Whilst these transactions were taking place 
on the upper Une of the Irawadi, the province 
of Pegu had been the scene of some military 
operations, which we may here pause to notice. 
The force stationed at Pegu, under Colonel 
Pepper, had been originally intended to act only 
on the defensive, and to cover the province from 
the Burman detachments that might be sent out 
from the main body or the garrison of Tongo, 
which, with some other fortified posts on the 
Sitang river, still remained in the possession 
of the enemy. Encouraged by the absence of 
molestation, and obtaining in the person of Ujina, 
the former governor of Martaban, an active and 
enterprising leader, the Burmas in the end of 
1825, became daring and troublesome, and by 
the acts of pillage and devastation which they 
committed, occasioned some mischief, and still 
more alarm. In order to check their incursions 
therefore Colonel Pepper moved from Pegu on 
the 23rd December, and marched to Shoe-gein, 
on the left bank of the Sitang, which he occu- 
pied without resistance. Parties of the enemy 


showed themselves occasionally in the jungle, 
but attempted no collective opposition. A party 
of one hundred and fifty men was posted at 
Mikow, and Lieutenant-colonel Conry, with the 
3rd light infantry, was detached to reduce Sitang 
the Burman post between Tongo and Martaban. 

Lieutenant-colonel Conry reached Sitang on 
the forenoon of the 7th January, and immedi- 
ately made his dispositions for the attack, which 
from the strength of the place and the inade- 
quate number of the attacking force, entirely 
failed, with the loss of Lieutenant-colonel Conry 
and Lieutenant Adams killed, Lieutenants Har- 
vey and Power wounded : one native officer and 
nine privates were killed, and eighteen rank and 
file wounded. 

On receiving news of the repulse. Colonel 
Pepper moved with a reinforcement of the 12th 
and 44th regiments of Madras native infantry, 
the flank companies of the 1st European regi- 
ment, and a small detachment of artillery, and 
at nine in the morning of the 11th of January, 
reached Sitang. The stockade was found of 
great extent, built entirely of teak timber : its 
height was from twelve to fourteen feet, and it 
was constructed on an eminence which com- 

M 3 


manded every approach : the north face was 
protected by a creek fordable only at low water. 
After placing the guns in position, the force 
advanced to the attack in three columns, the 
right commanded by Major Home, 12th native 
infantry, the left by Captain Cursham, 1st Eu- 
ropean regiment, and the centre by Captain 
Stedham, 34th local infantry. A simultaneous 
advance was ordered ; on which the creek was 
forded, and the stockade was attacked and 
carried in about twenty minutes : the advance 
was made under a heavy fire from the enemy, 
and the loss was proportionately severe. Cap- 
tains Cursham and Stedman were killed. Major 
Home, Lieutenant Fullerton and Lieutenant 
Gower were wounded, and the loss in rank and 
file was fourteen killed and fifty-three wounded. 

The number of the enemy was computed at 
three or four thousand. Three hundred dead 
bodies were found in the stockade, and their 
loss was estimated at double that number, many 
being thrown into the river, or into wells, or 
carried oflF. The whole of the defences were 
destroyed on the morning of the 13th. 

Shortly after the reduction of the stockade of 
Sitang, Colonel Pepper was joined by strong 


reinforcements from Rangoon, consisting of four 
companies of his Majesty's 45th, seven com- 
panies of the 1st Madras native infantry, besides 
details of the 3rd and 34th Madras native 
infantry, altogether eight hundred strong, by 
which all apprehensions for the security of the 
country were dissipated, and the population once 
more resorted with confidence to their homes 
and ordinary avocations. The efforts of the 
enemy were not however relaxed, and in the 
month of February they made a vigorous attack 
upon the British post at Mikow, which main- 
tained the communication between Pegu and Shoe- 
gein and covered the country between the former 
and the Sitang river. The attempt was gallantly 
repulsed by the young officer who commanded 
the position. Ensign Clark, with a small detach- 
ment of the 3rd Madras native infantry. Im- 
mediately after the news of the action reached 
Colonel Pepper, a reinforcement of a hundred 
rank and file of the 13th regiment, with twenty 
pioneers, under Captain Leggett, was sent to 
Mikow, as well as a hundred from Pegu, by 
which the post was secured against the repeti- 
tion of a similar attempt. The estabUshment of 
peace suspended further operations in Pegu. 


No occasion had oflFered for the further prose- 
cution of hostilities against the Burmas in Arakan 
or Asam, and those provinces continued in the 
undisturbed possession of the British authorities. 
Kachar had been likewise unmolested by any 
foreign force ; but it was not till about this time 
that Manipur was finally cleared of the enemy. 
It has been abeady mentioned, that Gambhir 
Singh and Lieutenant Pemberton, after reaching 
Manipur in the beginning of the year, were 
obliged to return to Sylhet for want of suppUes. 
Being furnished with adequate provisions and 
arms, the Raja, with Captain Grant and Lieu- 
tenant Pemberton, again set off for Manipur with 
the levy. They quitted Banskandy on the 4th 
of December, and arrived at the town of Manipur 
on the 18th. There was no Burman force in the 
vicinity of the city, but a considerable body of 
them were stockaded at Tummoo, in the south- 
east comer of the valley, against which a detach- 
ment was sent. Finding, however, that the 
enemy was too strong for the force sent against 
them, the commander of the detachment applied 
for re-inforcements, on which the Raja and Cap- 
tain Grant immediately marched to his assistance, 
with the rest of the levy, across the Mirang hills. 


into the Burman territory, in which route they 
passed stockades that had been commenced in 
the defiles, but abandoned on their unexpected 
advance : they joined the detachment on the 18th 
of January. On reconnoitring the stockade, it 
was found to be of considerable strength and 
extent ; the party were unprovided with artillery, 
and an attempt to carry it by escalade must have 
been attended with serious loss. It was ascer- 
tained, however, that the water of the stockade 
was procured from a nullah sixty paces distant, 
and advantage was promptly taken of this cir- 
cumstance to cut off the Burmas fi'om their 

On the 19th, the Manipur troops effected 
their advance through a thick jungle, and were 
not discovered till they had obtained command 
of the spots whence access to the stream from 
the stockade was practicable. The enemy on 
perceiving them opened a heavy fire, but the 
men, being sheltered by the thicket, suffered 
little. The Burmas made several spirited sorties 
to drive them from their positions, as well during 
the rest of that day, as on the two days succeed- 
ing, but they were received with great spirit in a 
desperate, and, as it appeared, final sortie on the 


uight of the 2 1 st, when being repulsed with severe 
loss, they commenced their retreat. They retired 
in small parties, three or four at a time, and had 
completely cleared the stockade by the night of 
the 22nd, when it was taken possession of by the 
Raja. Four small guns and several jinjals were 
captured in the stockade, with a quantity of rice, 
sufficient for two months' supply of the levy. 
Lieutenant Pemberton joined the force on the 
morning of the 20th. 

Immediately after this success, a detachment 
of three hundred men was sent forward, who 
succeeded in capturing a stockade on the right 
bank of the Ningti river. More than two hun- 
dred of the people of Manipur were liberated on 
this occasion, and many others were rescued from 
captivity, by fljdng parties of the levy, the whole 
of which was advanced to the banks of the Ningti 
by the 2nd of February, whence a ready road lay 
before them to the capital of Ava. The restora- 
tion of tranquillity, however, arrested their ad- 
vance, and saved the frontier districts from that 
retaliation, which a long series of cruelty and 
oppression exercised by the Burmas in Manipur 
would, no doubt, have provoked, and would 
almost have justified. 


After halting two or three days at Pagahm, 
General Campbell resumed his march, which now 
seemed likely to conduct him to the capital of 
Ava. There, one feeling alone prevailed, and 
although various reports were thrown out, at one 
time, of the intention of the king to defend the 
city to the last extremity, and at another, to pro- 
tract the war by flying to the mountains, these 
purposes, if ever conceived, originated in the 
anxiety of the moment, and were never seriously 
entertained. The king and his ministers felt 
that they were in the power of the British ; and 
their only anxiety was, that the personal dignity 
and security of the sovereign should not be 
violated. It was with as much satisfaction as 
astonishment, therefore, that they learned from 
Mr. Price, on his return from Ava, that the Bri- 
tish commissioners sought to impose no severer 
terms than those which had been stipulated in the 
treaty of Melloon. To these there wfts now no 
hesitation to accede, although a lurking suspicion 
was still entertained, that the invaders would not 
rest satisfied with the conditions they professed 
to impose. With a mixture of fear and trust, 
Mr. Price was again despatched to the British 
camp to signify the consent of the Burman tourt 




to the terms of peace ; and Mr. Sandford was 
now set wholly at liberty, and allowed to accom- 
pany the negotiator to rejoin his countrymen. 
These gentlemen returned to camp on the 1 3th 
of February ; but as the envoy had brought no 
official ratification of the treaty, Sir A. Campbell 
declined suspending his march until it should be 
received. Mr. Price having returned to Ava to 
obtain this ramification, the army advanced to 
Yandabo, within four days' march of Ava when 
the negociator, accompanied by the Burman com- 
missioners, a chief Woongyee, and an Atwen- 
woon, attended by other functionaries, again 
made his appearance, with the ratified treaty, 
and the amount of the first instalment, or twenty- 
five lacs, in gold and silver bullion. By this 
treaty, the Burman government engaged to ab- 
stain from all interference with the affairs of 
Asam, Kachar, and Jyntea, to recognise Gambhir 
Singh as Rajah of Manipur, to receive a British 
resident at Ava, and depute a Burman resident 
to Calcutta, to concur in a commercial treaty, to 
cede, in perpetuity, the four provinces of Arakan, 
as divided from Ava by the Anupectumien moun- 
tains, and the provinces Yeh, Tavai, and Mergui 
to the south of the Sanluen or Martaban river, 


and to pay a crore of rupees, in four instalments, 
until the receipt of the second, of which Rangoon 
was to remain in the occupation of the British. 

The treaty was concluded on the 24th Feb- 
ruary, 1826 ; on the 26th a deputation, consist- 
ing of Captain Limisden of the horse artillery. 
Lieutenant Havelock, deputy assistant adjutant- 
general, and assistant-surgeon Knox, were sent 
on a compUmentary mission to the capital with 
conciUatory presents, which might be interpreted 
by the wounded pride of the court as a profession 
of inferiority. After a passage piu^osely pro- 
tracted, the delegates arrived at Ava, and on the 
1st of March were presented to the sovereign at 
a pubUc audience. The ceremonial was not with- 
out dignity, but it was formal and cold, and no 
direct communication was vouchsafed by the king : 
refreshments were placed before the officers, 
some trifling presents were interchanged, and 
honorary Burman titles conferred upon the 
members of the deputation, and the king with- 
drew. Early on the 3rd, the deputation returned 
to the camp; on the 7th, the Commander-in- 
Chief with the first brigade, embarked in boats 
from Yandabo and proceeded down the river to 
Rangoon, where General Campbell arrived on the 


24th of March. The rest of the army followed 
in boats of various kinds and sizes, provided by 
the Burmas ; as soon as they arrived they were 
embarked on board the transports waiting for 
them, and by the end of the month, the whole 
force was on its way to the Presidencies to which 
the respective divisions belonged, with exception 
of the detachment left to occupy Rangoon, until 
the payment of the second instahnent. A regi- 
ment of Madras native infantry, the 18th, with 
the elephants and details of pioneers, was sent 
with the constrained concurrence of the Burman 
functionaries by land to Arakan, with the view 
of determining the practicability of the route. 
The detachment marched from Yandabo on the 
6th of March, and crossed the Irawadi at Pakang- 
yeh on the 14th. On the evening of the 15th, 
the march was resiuned through the town of 
Sembewgewn, about four miles from the right 
bank of the river, and continued on the following 
day by an excellent road to Chalain-mew, an ex- 
tensive walled town, the capital of the province of 
Chalain, one of the most populous and fertile 
divisions of the kingdom. A road from hence lay 
across the mountains to Talak, but it was re- 
ported to be difficult for cattle and to be ill 


provided with water. The division, therefore, 
proceeded more directly southwards, and in thiee 
days more halted at Kwensa on the Mine river, 
two miles beyond which the ascent over the 
boundary mountains commenced : two days more 
of gradual ascent brought the force to Napeh- 
mew the last Burman town towards the moun- 
tains ; from hence the road was more precipitous 
and rugged, chiefly in the bed of the Mine river, 
and presenting occasionally narrow and defensi- 
ble defiles, but by no means impracticable: two 
days more reached the summit of the pass,* the 
boundary between Ava and Arakan, and com- 
pletely commanding the ascent from either 
territory. From hence an excellent road, the 
work of the last Burman sovereign, led down to 
Aeng in Arakan, where the division arrived in 
three days more, or on the 26th of March, having 
thus determined two important points, the know- 
ledge of a tract equally well adapted for defensive 
or ofiensive warfare by the establishment of an 
impregnable barrier on the top of the pass, or 
the practicable march across the mountain of an 
invading force, into the most fertile and healthy 
of the provinces of Ava, within an easy distance 
of the capital. 


After a short visit to Calcutta, and personal 
communication with the government. Sir Archi- 
bald Campbell returned to Rangoon as chief 
commissioner, to receive the second instalment of 
the stipulated payment, and to determine finally 
the boundar}' to be established to the southward, 
which, agreeably to the terms of the treaty, was 
to be the Sanluen river. Mr. Crawfurd, who had 
been associated with him as civil comndssioner, 
had proceeded to the Sanluen at the end of March, 
and laid the foundation of a new town at the mouth 
of the river, to which the name of Amherst was 
assigned, but which was afterwards moved about 
twenty-five miles higher up, to a more salubrious 
situation, and has since risen into a place of some 
consideration, as Moulmain, the capital of the 
Tenasserim provinces. The realisation of the 
second instalment was not effected before the 
month of October, shortly after which Sir Archi- 
bald Campbell, with the remainder of the troops, 
departed to Moulmain. Mr. Crawfurd in the 
meanwhile was appointed envoy to the court of 
Ava, to discuss with the ministers in person such 
arrangements as seemed to require explanation, 
and to conclude the terms of a treaty for a more 
secure and advantageous commercial intercourse 


with Rangoon than had heretofore prevailed. 
The mission left Rangoon in September, and re- 
turned there by the middle of January, 1827, 
having effected the object for which it had been 
sent to Ava. The commissioner and his suite 
then followed the senior commissioner to the 
Sanluen ; and all personal intercourse with the 
Bm-man government was suspended for a season. 
Thus terminated a war, which had inflicted 
very severe penalties on both the belligerent 
parties : on the British, by a heavy pecuniary 
expenditure and awful loss of life ; and on the 
Burman empire, by an equal sacrifice of men and 
money, and by the perpetual separation of some 
of its most highly-valued dependencies. The 
expense of the military operations had greatly 
exceeded all anticipation, and had been, in some 
respects, unnecessarily wasteful, especially in 
the instances of the armaments in Kachar and 
Arakan, which were wholly disproportioned to 
the opposition to be overcome or the objects to be 
accomplished. A large portion of the expenditure, 
however, arose out of misinformation with regard 
to the resources of the Burman kingdom, which, 
instead of being adequate to the support of the 
troops, proved to be wholly deficient; and the 


nriiiy was consequently entirely dependent npon 
supplies from Ik*ngal and Madras, which had to 
l)e conveyed by sea, by a tedious and most ex- 
)>(*nsive transit. The cxnit of the war, has, how- 
I'vcr, been over-rated ; and, judging from the 
published accounts of 1824 — 1827, it pifobablj 
(lid not exceed five or six crores of rupees, or five 
niillions sterling, llie loss of life was a more 
>criouH consideration. The mortality amongst the 
native troops in Ava and Arakan is illustrated in 
the notes annexed to these pages. For that of 
liis Majesty's regiments, we have the authentic 
documents of the army medical department, pre- 
>i'r\W(\ to Parliament in 1841. From these, it 
>ip[)(»ars that, within the first eleven months after 
binding at llangoon, nearly one half the Euro*^ 
jK-ans died ; and that a similar rate of loss oc- 
nm*ed in the subsequent operations at Prome 
nnd to the northwards. In like manner, in Ara* 
kan, at least three-fourths of the European force ^ 
I^Tished, and of those; who survived few were 
Jijrain fit for service. Altogether the deaths nearly 
«N|nall(»d the number of British troops originally 
<rii])loyed ; so that, but for the reinforcements 
AN hich from time to time arrived, the whole would 
liHV(* been annihilated.'* 


Of the loss thus sustained the casualties in 
action although numerically small, yet bear a 
veiy large ratio to the invading force, being 
nearly equal to that suffered in the peninsular 
war, the latter being about four, the former about 
three and a-half per cent. The proportionate 
loss by disease was infinitely greater. In Ara- 
kan the mortality was attributable entirely to 
climate, for there the campaign was short, the 
supplies were suflBcient, and the troops but 
little exposed. In Burma the climate was com- 
paratively innocuous, for eH prior and subsequent 
experience have estabUshed the superior salu- 
brity of Rangoon and the Tenasserim provinces 
to other parts of India within the tropics.^* At 
the same time the season of the year is to be taken 
into account, and the severity of the exposure 
which the troops underwent. Their being re- 
peatedly in the field during tropical rain, their 
daily marching through inundated fields, and 
their bivouacking unsheltered amidst mud and 
water, were trials to which no European con- 
stitutions could be subjected with impunity, and 
when to this cause of sickness was added un- 
wholesome and insufficient food, it need not be 
matter of surprise that fevers and disorders of the 


digestive organs should have remorselessly mowed 
down the ranks of the British force in Ava. In 
the words of Major TuUoch's report, however, we 
may conclude '' that a useful lesson may at least 
be learnt in the event of future warfare in the 
Burman country as to the necessity for com- 
mencing operations at the season best fitted for 
taking the field, and of being provided with the 
means of proceeding rapidly through the delta 
of the Irawadi, to the vicinity of the capital, 
where military operations can be carried on by 
Europeans without that injury to health and 
constitution which for a time paralyses their 
efforts in the lower division of the empire. With 
these - precautions and a due attention to the 
troops being made independent of local resources 
for their supplies, it may be anticipated that a 
very moderate force of Europeans would be able 
to accomplish what on this occasion employed 
at Rangoon and Arakan the combined efforts 
of twenty thousand men; of whom not more 
than a tenth part could ultimately be brought 
into the field in the actions which decided the 
fate of the empire." 


The policy of maintaining a friendly intercourse 
with the government of Bormah, consequently 
upon the restoration of tranquillity, which it was 
one of the objects of the treaty of Yandabo to 
accomplish was never more than partially success- 
ful, and was finally disappointed by the deter- 
mined disinclination of the Burman sovereign. 
A brief notice of the circumstances of the failure, 
and of the changes which the monarchy has 
undergone down to the most recent date, seems 
essential therefore to complete the narrative, by 
furnishing a general view of the consequences of 
the war, and the relations which have' hitherto 
subsisted between the two states. 

The manner in which the mission of Mr. Craw- 
ford, at the end of 1826, was received at Ava, 
offered little encouragement for the appointment 
of a successor, and his official report to the 
government of India dissuaded the enforcement 
of the article of the treaty which provided for 
the permanent presence of a British envoy at 
the Burman capital. The Indian government 
hesitated accordingly to despatch a representative, 
and it was not until the end of 1829, when some 
delay in the payment of the instalments of the 
contribution due, and some questions relating 



to the boundaries between the two states, were 
thought to require the personal interference id 
an accredited agent, that an officer was again 
nominated to the duty. Lieutenant-colonel 
Bumey who had recently returned from a special 
mission to Siam was then sent to Ava, and con- 
tinned to reside there for several years. Al- 
though not exempt from petty annojrances, and 
having constantly to contend against the caprice 
of the king, and the insincerity of the ministers, 
his intercourse with the authorities was, upcm 
the whole, of a friendly nature ; and, whilst he 
enforced' the full liquidation of the contribution, 
which was finally paid off in 1832, and advo* 
cated the just claims of European and other 
traders agreeably to the terms of the conuner* 
cial treaty, he supported the equitable preten- 
sions of the Burman government, and reclaimed 
for them a valuable tract, the Kubo valley, 
which it had been proposed to annex to Mani* 
pur. He also obtained permission from the court 
for the passage of several British officers through 
various parts of the coimtry which had never 
before been traversed by Europeans, a concession 
of which the value is to be estimated only by 
a knowledge of the suspicious jealousies with 

TBt BUtlMlESB WAR. 267 

whioh all such journeys are regarded by an un- 
civilised administration. As long as the govern- 
ment was undisturbed, the presence of Lieutenant- 
colonel Bumey at Ava had come to be looked 
upon almost with friendly sentiments, when a re- 
volution in the state altered the position of the 

The king of Ava, who had for some time fallen 
into a state of imbecihty, and even of occasional 
insanity, being utterly incompetent to the con? 
duct of affairs, the administration had been 
assumed by his favourite queen with the support 
of her brother Menthagyee, to the total exclusion 
of the heir-apparent and the brothers of the king 
from eil offices of trust and emolument, which 
were made over to their own adherents and par- 
tisans. The resentment inspired by this treat- 
ment in the royal relatives was shared by many 
of the old officers of the crown ; and the court 
was for sev^al years a scene of intrigue and 

Towards the end of 1837, the parties came 
to an open rupture. It was known that the 
prince of Tharawadi, the king's eldest brotheri 
was coUecting men and arms in the city; and a 
feeble and unsuccessful attempt was made to 


seize his person. He escaped across the Irawadi 
to Tsagain on the opposite bank, where he was 
soon joined by so many adherents that he was 
able to defy the force of his adversaries, and to 
proclaim his determination to put an end to 
their power. His quarrel he declared was with 
Menthag)'ee alone ; and he asserted that he had 
no intention or desire to injiu'e his brother the 
king, or his nephew the rightful heir to the 
throne ; and these assertions he confirmed by a 
solemn oath, taken pubUcly in a celebrated temple 
at Tsagain, in the presence of the priests and the 
people. Notwithstanding the strength of his 
party, however, he thought it advisable to with- 
draw from the immediate proximity of Ava, and 
retired to Mouttshobo about fifty miles off. 
There the people flocked round his standard: 
forces were sent against him, but they proved 
cowardly or disaffected, and many deserted to 
him ; and the few who were well-disposed to 
the government, either fled or remained inactive. 
The ministers were equally intimidated ; and no 
adequate measures were adopted to place the 
capital in a state of defence. There was nothing 
to prevent Tharawadi's occupation of the city. 

In this situation Menthagyee and his colleagues 
had recourse to the British resident ; and at their 


earnest solicitation, and in the hope of preventing 
the scenes of havoc and bloodshed which would 
follow the forcible entry of the insurgents, Colonel 
Burney consented to interpose, although con- 
vinced that the period had been suffered to pass 
when his inter |:osition might have exercised some 
influence. He repaired to the head quarters 
of Tharawadi, by whom he was received with 
respect, but who refused to accede to any terms 
of accommodation. All that could be obtained 
from him was the issue of orders to the com- 
manders of his troops, that they should consider 
the resident and all persons connected with him 
as his friends, and should carefully respect the 
residency in the event of having to storm the 
town. With regard to the king and the minis- 
ters, he was also induced to promise that if they 
would allow his followers to enter the city with- 
out opposition, he would offer no injury to his 
brother or any of his ministers, would not put a 
single soul to death, and would not suffer the in- 
habitants to be molested or plundered by his 
troops. He engaged also to suspend his advance 
towards Ava until he should learn from the resi- 
dent the king's acceptance of the conditions. 
Knowing how little reliance is to be placed on 

S70 WARRATivs or 

Burnian veracity^ the resident, on his letim, 
strongly urged the king to take the opportunity 
of making bis escape and taking refuge at Ran- 
goon, llie king was inclined to follow this 
advice, but his ministers considered that it would 
be preferable to accede to prince Tharawadi's 
terms. This determination having been com- 
municatcd to him, his forces marched upon Ava, 
plundering, burning, and destroying everything 
on their route, and assuming so threatening an 
attitude that the king and the ministers, appre- 
hending treachery, took measures for defending 
the city. A renewed apptication was made to the 
prince, who, equally suspicious of the designs of 
his opponents, had not yet quitted his head 
quarters at Mouttshobo, and he repeated the 
pledge he had before given, but required, as a 
proof that no treachery was intended — ^that the 
prince Bo-woon his half brother, the queen's 
brother, Menthagyee, and several of the king's 
chief ministers and generals, should be surren- 
dered as hostages to his son, Thait-leng-byn, 
who was encamped at Tsagain directly opposite 
to the city. Seeing the hopelessness of resist- 
ance, the persons indicated, thirteen in number, 
went over and delivered themselves up to Thait- 

TH9 buem;9S£ war. 271 

leng-byn on the 7th of April. They were ac- 
companied by the resident^ who made the strong- 
est appeal to the young prince to treat them in 
conformity with the pledge which his father had 
80 repeatedly given. How little intention to 
adhere to his promises was entertained, was very 
soon made manifest. 

On the morning of the 9th of April, Tharawadi 
ordered the hostages with exception of the Prince 
Bo-woon to be put in irons and confined in the 
commcm jail of Ava, and at the same time sent 
his son with two thousand men to take possession 
of the palace, which became the scene of plunder 
and cruelty. The principal officers were seized 
and imprisoned, their houses pillaged, and their 
famiUes were insulted, robbed and then beaten 
and tortured to make them disclose where they 
had concealed their treasures. The queen and her 
daught^ were separated &om the king, and all 
their jewels and property taken from them, and 
the king himself was treated with indignity. 
Tharawadi having entered the city, was waited 
upon by the resident, who remonstrated with him 
in vain on his violation of his promises. Thara- 
wadi, who had assumed the title of king of 
Mouttshobo, asserted that he had never promised 


not to punish any of his brother's officers who 
could be proved guilty of crime, and at all events 
had made no promise in writing. The meanness of 
this evasion was pointed out firmly but respectfidly 
by the resident but to no purpose, and in the course 
of a few days, notwithstanding Colonel Burney's 
interference both personally with the new king 
and through the medium of his most influential 
advisers, a number of those of whose persons 
Tharawadi had obtained possession were put to 
death by his orders, being either secretly strangled 
in prison, or publicly executed with those circum- 
stances of atrocious inhumanity which characterise 
the capital punishments of the Burmas. 

The conduct of Tharawadi, who was intoxicated 
by his success, in thus violating his most solemn 
promises to the resident, and his utter disregard 
of the remonstrances of the latter was only part of 
a pohcy of which he made no secret — his deter-* 
mination to get rid of the residency altogether. 
He not only declared in council, but expUcitly 
stated to the resident that he did not consider 
himself boimd by the acts of his predecessor, and 
that he did not acknowledge the treaties made by 
his brother with the government of India, reply- 
ing to the argument that the treaties made with 


the British government were not personal with 
the late king but perpetual with the Burmese 
nation by whomsoever governed, by saying, that 
such might be the English custom ; it was not 
the Burmese ; that the Burmese officers had been 
frightened into signing the treaty of Yandabo ; 
ihat it contained everything for the English and 
nothing for the Burmese ; that the late govern- 
ment had never shown him the whole of it, and 
that at all events the English had not conquered 
him, or made the treaty with him, and that he 
was determined to have nothing to say to it. 
These declarations made publicly on several occa- 
sions, the loss of all personal influj^nce with the 
king, and the resident's repugnance to appear even 
to countenance by his presence the acts of violence 
and barbarity which were daily perpetrated, in- 
duced him at last to apply for permission to wither 
draw from Ava to Rangoon, on the plea of im» 
paired health, having reported to the government 
of India, the state of afiFairs, and purporting to 
await instructions at Rangoon. This was exactly 
what Tharawadi desired, who took great credit 
to himself for having effected the removal of the 
resident without adopting any of those violent 
proceedings for the purpose to which he had been 


repeatcilly urged by many of his adliereDts. 
Colonel Buniey accordingly quitted Ava on tiie 
17th of June, 1837, accompanied by the Euro- 
pean tnulors and American missionaries who had 
been established there and who found they could 
not remain with safety ; Tharawadi having re- 
moved on the lUth of the month the capital to 
Kyung-myung, carrying with him his whole 
court and a large portion of the inhabitants, having 
expressed his deteriuination to make Ava a heap 
of ruins, and having forbidden any of the Eiuno- 
peans or Americans to accompany him to his new 
capital. The resident and his party arrived at 
Rangoon on the 6th of July after a tedious and 
troublesome passage, in which they experienced 
much inciviUty from the Burman functionaries, 
though not from the people when the latter ven- 
tured to communicate with the boats of the resi- 
dent and his train. 

(Conceiving apparently that Colonel Burney had 
attached more weight to the expressions of the 
new king than they deserved as having been 
uttered in moments of irritation and intemperance, 
and unwilling to appear inclined to take any part 
in the internal revolutions of the Burman state ; 
thinking it also still possible that amicable rela- 


tions might be restored by a conciliatory course 
of conduct, and very reluctant to be involved in 
a dispute in this quarter, whilst its utmost exer- 
tions were called for beyond the Indus ; the go- 
vernment of Bengal resolved, on Colonel Burney's 
departure for Europe to endeavour to replace 
him at the Burman court by a representative who 
might be more acceptable to Tharawadi. Colo- 
nel Benson was therefore despatched to Rangoon, 
having as his assistant Captain M'Leod, who had 
been before in Ava, was personally known to the 
king and his ministers, and was well acquainted 
with the Burman language and nianners. 

The experiment thus made was not success- 
ful: at first Colonel Benson was received with 
some show of civility at Rangoon, where he 
arrived in July, 1838, but it was with some dif- 
ficulty that he procured the means of proceeding 
to his ulterior destination, and was unable to de- 
part until the end of August. Inattention and 
insufficiency of supplies accompanied his whole 
passage, and an intimation met him at Prome that 
he would do well to remain there : disregarding 
this notice as it was in some degree unofficial, he 
resumed his route, and in October arrived at 
Amerapura to which Tharawadi had removed 

** t 

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his irksome position in the beginning of 1839, and 
returned to Calcutta. Captain M*Leod whom he 
left behind, was for a time rather better treated: 
he was admitted to an interview with Tharawadi, 
but this was consequent upon the occurrence of a 
very severe earthquake at Amerapura, when the 
king's superstitious apprehensions and his curi- 
osity to know how Europeans accoimted for such 
phenomena, overcame his reluctance to admit 
Captain M'Leod to his presence even in his pri- 
vate character. He still refused to acknowledge 
him in any pubUc capacity, the interdict against 
commimicating with the people Was not removed, 
and the mission was not allowed to transfer its 
residence from the islet, where with the setting 
in of the rains it ran some risk of being washed 
away, as the bank was under water. Captain 
M'Leod was, therefore, compelled to follow the ex- 
ample of his superior, and to the infinite diver- 
sion of the usurper, the mission returned to 
Rangoon, and there passed the remainder of the 
year, when the continued neglect and insolence 
of the Burman authorities having satisfied the 
Bengal government, that any further attempt at 
conciliation was an idle compromise of its dig- 
nity, it was finally withdrawn. No effort has 


i« • .. 

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■^"•"^ 1" ^ IV, 

Vf^ ttffi 

2. xiarj^rai 

. •'C*- 

I .. 

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• ." 


which he came attended by a numerous and 
warhke train, which it was anticipated would be 
directed against Arakan or Tenasserim. The 
apprehension was groundless, although arrange- 
ments were prudently adopted for strengthening 
the forces in these quarters. Aft^r laying the 
foundation of a new town in the vicinity of Ran- 
goon which was not completed, and paying a visit 
to Pegu, Tharawadi quitted Rangoon in January, 
1842, and returned to Amerapura. Although 
averse to the British alliance, and steadily anxious 
to vindicate the honour of the Burman arms, 
and recover the lost provinces of the empire, it 
does not appear that Tharawadi ever seriously me- 
ditated a renewal of hostilities. However stained 
¥rith the vices oT his country and his station ; how- 
ever violent and sanguinary, he was evidently a 
man of observation and sagacity, and was well 
aware of the inferiority of his means to cope with 
the military resources of the Indian government. 
There was no difficulty in remaining at peace 
with him : he was little inclined to provoke a war : 
as notwithstanding his severity, he felt his power 
insecure, and eventually fell a victim to the spirit 
of insubordination of which he had set the 


Towards the end of 1845, Tharawadi resolved 
to announce his legitimate son as his successor, 
and, to strengthen his claim by his marriage with 
the daughter of the old king, his brother. The 
measure was opposed by his eldest son, the prince 
of Prome, who raised an insurrection against 
his father. The prince was defeated, taken, 
and, after some short time, put to death. But 
Tharawadi, who had always been addicted to 
intemperate habits, became so ferocious in his 
cruelty, that his own ministers found it necessary 
to deprive him of power and treat him as insane, 
raising the young prince to the chief authority, 
with the title of regent. Tharawadi died in con- 
finement a few months after his deposal ; but the 
regent refrained from assuming the royal title 
until after the death of the old king, which did 
not occur until the beginning of 1847. His 
nephew then became sovereign. In the com- 
mencemeut of his reign hopes were entertained 
that the intercourse with the court of Ava might 
be renewed on the terms of the treaty, as some 
disposition was shown to relax the restrictions to 
which, during the life of Tharawadi, the resort of 
Europeans to the capital and the trade of Ran- 
goon had been rigorously subjected. The new 


prince, however, speedily subsided into inactivity 
and sensual indulgence, and experienced the fate 
of his father, having been deposed by one of the 
ministers, who placed himself upon the throne. 
The particulars of this last revolution are yet 
imperfectly known in Em'ope ; but the character 
of the usurper is described as in no way superior 
to the princes whom he has succeeded in energy 
or information : whether he will persevere in 
provoking a renewed contest with the British 
power in India remains yet undecided. The 
result cannot be doubtful. The application of 
the powers of steam — the advantages available 
from the proximity and abundant resources of 
the flourishing provinces of Arakan and Tenas- 
serim,^® and, above all, the knowledge that should 
have been gained by the experience of the war, 
which has been described in the preceding pages, 
aflPord reasonable certainty that, should a contest 
be unavoidable, it will be brought to a speedy 
and honourable termination without any dispro* 
portionate sacrifice of life or treasure. 


1. — 1>. :).) On these subjects, Dalrymples Repertorj 
fiirijislii'n some characteristic details. — Vol. i. pp. 151 and 

r*<i. — p. *).) Of Uiis traiisactiou, Dr Hamilton remarks, 
*' The opinion that prevailed, both in Chittagoug and at 
A\a, Mus, that the refugees were given up from fear; and 
this opinion has, no doubt, continued to operate on the ill- 
informed court of Ava, and has occasioned a frequent repe- 
tition of violence and insolence, ending in open war. The 
consequence of this will, no doubt, be fatal to Ava, but 
may produce subsequent difficulties to the government of 
Bengal. These evils might possibly have been avoided hy 
a vigorous I'epulse of the invasion in 1704, and a positive 
refusal to hearken to any prososal for giving up the insiuw 
irents, after the court of Ava had adopted hostile measures 
in vlBce of negociation, to which alone it was entitled. 
J^ccount of the frontier between the southern part of Bengal 
gj^ Ava. — Edinburgh Journal of Science, 

(3. — p. 3.) Symes^s Mission to Ava, 8vo, vol. i. p. ti75. 
Q^ also Cox's Burman Empire. 

(4.— P- ^') ^® ^ always called by European writei's 
ir^^^liQjriiig, but his proper appellation was Khyeti-bran, 
^^^g^ tiom after his Other's return {bran) from a visit lo 
■ ^ ^ooDtain tribe, named Khyen, 

N0TS8. 288 

montary Papers, printed by order of the House of Com- 
mons, 1825. Further details will be found in the supple- 
men taiy volume to Mills s History, vol. iii. p. 10. 

(6. — p. 0.) Public Letter to the Honourable the Court 
of Directors, of the JiOth of December, 1817. 

(7. — ^p. 10.) "A desultory conversation then took place, 
in which the Woonghees, Woondoks, and others indiffer- 
ently joined. One advanced, that Chittagong, Luckipore, 
Dacca, and the whole of the Casimbazar island, formerly 
made part of the ancient dominions of Arakan, that the 
remains of chokeys and pagodas were still to be seen near 
Dacca, and that they would further prove it from the Ara- 
kan records, and hinted, that his Majesty would claim the 
restitution of those countries. CoiC& Burman Empire, p. 
300. The Woondok again brought forward his Majesty^s 
claims on the ancient territory of Arakan, and reduced it 
to the form of a demand of half the revenues of Dacca, 
p. 302. The Woondok renewed the subject of the Burman 
claims on Dacca, &c», but lowered the demand to one-tenth 
of the revenues. He said it was evident we were dubious 
of our right, by Captain Symes having so strenuously urged 
the building of a chokey on the Naaf, to mark that river 
as the boundary between the two countries. Had the 
Naaf been the proper boundary, there was no occasion for 
Captain Symes^s agitating the subject: we had betrayed 
our oonsciousness of our want of right by his solicitude on 
that occasion. They have publicly said, that three thousand 
inen would be sufficient to wrest from us the provinces they 
claim. P. 304. So little change did nearly thirty years 
effect in the ideas of the Burman court. 

(8. — p. 30.) The pretensions of Burma to the territories 
claimed in Bengal were of old date, and were repeatedly 
urged on Captain Cox, as stated in the preceding note, 
Ivhen at Amerapura in 1797« At the «ame time the 

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cifc^ses. who hiTr pcEj fnsies at i !iv ct :irag-r ; thej hi^e ncTer 
vet Ibc^t vich 90 3tp>ng and bravr a f-r^^'p-e a? iLe Bumias 
ftkilWd in the use of the sword and sp-^&r. Ii thev once 
MM vi& ■% and ve bare an oi^rtmiitT of manifestmg 

NOTES. 285 

our bravery, it will be an example to the black nations^ 
which are now slaves to the English, and will encourage 
them to throw off the yoke.** A prediction was also current 
that the heir apparent, a boy of about eleven years of age, 
when arrived at manhood, would rule over the country of 
the strangers. — Documents, Burmese War, pp. 223, 229. 

(9. — p. 33.) In the beginning of this year the Bengal 
Regiments which had formerly comprised two battalions 
were reorganised, each batallion being numbered as a dis- 
tinct regiment : both numbers are given in the text as there 
might otherwise be a difficulty in identifying the corps. 

(10. — p. 64.) During the dry months of January, Feb- 
ruary, March, and April, the waters of the Irawadi subside 
into a stream that is barely navigable : frequent shoals, and 
banks of sand retard boats of burthen, aud a northerly wind 
invariably prevails. Symes, i. 24. In the months of June, 
July, and August, the navigation of the river would be im- 
practicable, were it not counteracted by the strength of the 
south-west monsoon : assisted by this wind, and cautiously 
keeping within the eddies of the banks, the Burmas use 
their sails, and make a more expeditious passage at this, 
than at any other season of the year. Ibid. i. 128. Thein- 
teirnal trade from Bassein was said also to be carried on in 
boats of large size chiefly, which assembled about the end 
of April, ready to take advantage of the rise of the river r 
and the prevailing winds from the south. — Account of Bos- 
sein. Captain Canning who had been employed on a mis- 
sion to Ava also advocated the adoption of this plan which 
he further recommended by assurance that abundant supplies 
would be procurable at this season. 

(11. — p. 87.) A correct notion of the extent of the pre- 
vailing sickness, may be formed from the following state- 
ment of a competent observer. " During June, July, August, 
September, and October, the average monthly admissions 

266 Koni. 

inl/i hoipiul from the srtiller}-, «« aiz^-flre Europeans, 
and HixtT-two natim, being nearly oii«-third of the gnmtut 
nutnerical strenf^ of the former, utd one-fborth of iku 
latter ; and large as waa tfaia namber, I am assared, that h 
wsrt njintiJerably lees, in proportion, than that iriiioh was 
ftthiliitc-d bj any European regiment, in either diTiakm of 
the army. The aggregate number in hoqtital, during the 
whole fourteen months, to which this account is limited. 
wan liii hundred and five Europeans, and six hundred and 
eit{hlj-M!ven natives, a large proportion being made up of 
re'sdmiseion fur djsenteiy. Of the former, forty-nine died, 
including twelve, wbo died in the field hospitals of RaogOoB 
and Mergui, or a fraction less than one in twelve and a half. 
Amongiit the latter, thirty-four deaths occurred, or some- 
thing leee than one in twenty. On the setting in of Hm 
cold season, the general sickness began to decline, and from 
January to July, 1835, it was comparatively moderate."— 
On the diseases prevailing amongst the British tnwpe at 
Rangoon. By G. Waddell, U. D., TransactionB of the 
Medical and Physical Society of Calcutta. Vol. Til. 

(13. — p. lOii.) Although the Bnrman form of government 
is an absolute despotism, the king is aided in his adminis- 
tration by two councils, a public and a privy oonncil; the 
first consists of four members, entitled wung-yees. properly 
written wnn-kri ; wan meaning literally a burthen, in 
this case denoting an office of importance : the memtiere of 
(his council are considered competent to the dischat^e of 
all msponsible doties, whether civil or military, so are their 
jMuties or wun-doks. of whom also there are four, and the 
jiijnnil is completed by eight earodhaugyis or secretuiea. 
The y^^'3 council consists also of four members, styled 
|Meu wens, or inside officers, being the private advisera of 
^ king- They have their secretaries or kandouthsna. 
^ — aor of a province is s^led myo-wun, and hia 

NOTES. ftSl 

A^j^ij ke-'wun; while the head of a township is a mjo- 
tHugfi. All these and all other public officers are ex- 
pected to discharge military, as well as fiscal and judicial 
duties and the whole male adult population of the country 
is liable to. conscription. — Crawfurd's Embassy to Ava^ 
p. 395. 

(13. — p. 163.) On this subject, we are able to cite the 
most authentic testimony, in the following extracts from 
the Transactions of the Medical and Physical Society of 
Calcutta : — ** The causes of this sickness were too obvious 
to be overlooked : the locality was sufficient to satisfy every 
medical observer that troops could not inhabit it with impu- 
nity, and a referttioe to the meteorological register v^l show 
a severity of season to which the men were quite unaccus- 
tomed, and which no covering could wholly resist. Exposure 
to the weather, which no precaution could prevent, and 
intoxication, which European soldiers are unfortunately too 
prone to, had their share in producing disease, but a still 
greater in pre-disposing to, or rendering more violent the 
endemic, with which neailj every one was visited in a 
greater or less degree." — Sketch of the Medical Topography 
of Arakan by R. N. Bumard. *' In a country like Arakan, 
and in cantonments, such as have been described, it seems 
not difficult to trace the causes of disease ; and after what 
has been advanced regarding the influence of a raw, variable, 
and impure atmosphere, little remains to be said, either of 
the causes of the sickness, or of the mortsdity which followed 
\t But it is the opinion of some, that the aiokness of 
the south-eastern division of the army arose, not from the 
unwholesomeness of the climate, but owed its origin to the 
bad quality of the supplies. That the provisions were 
occasionally bad, and that the army suffered from the want 
of many little comforts which such a situation required, 
may be admitted, but that the great mortality in Arakan 


I) wed its origin to this source is a conclusion of which there 
is no proof/' — On the sickness prevailing in Arakao, hj 
.1. Stevenson. In further proof, that the sickness arose 
from climate, Mr. Stevenson cites the different £Eite of the 
two detachments sont against Talak and Ramree ; hotfa 
were supplied from the same stores; hut the former, who, 
<in their return, had to travel through jungle and marsh 
after the rains had set in, almost all fell ill of fever and died. 
The latter, who spent ahout six weeks at sea, had onlj 
two deaths, one from fever, and the other from djsentry, 
and it was ohsen-cd, that the men who composed the detach- 
ment resisted the influence of the climate after their return 
much better than those who remained behind. The detach- 
ment of Europeans and sipahis stationed at Sandowaj pre- 
served their health during the rains. From tables included 
in Mr. Bumard s paper, it appears that the European force .^^ 
amounting to above one thousand five hundred men, lost, 
between May and September, two hundred and fifty-nine ; 
and at the end of the latter mouth, had nearly four hundred 
in hospital. During the same time, ten native corps, the 
strength of which was nearly eight thousand, lost eight hun- 
dred and ninety-two, and had three thousand six hundred and 
forty-eight in hospital. It appears, also, that during July, 
August and September, the thermometer ranged from 9^o 
8 to 78 , and the fall of rain was a hundred and twenty 
three inches, of which a hundred and three fell in the two 
first months. 

(14. — p. 26Q.) The whole number of British troops that 
landed at Rangoon in the first instance comprising the 13th 
38th, 41st, 49th, 45th, and 87th was exclusive of officers, 
3586 ; the number of reinforcements does not appear, but 
that of the deaths was 3115, of which not more than 150. 
occurred in action, or from wounds. Of about 150 officers 
sixteen were killed in action or in consequence of their 

NOTES. 289 

wounds, and forty-five died of disease. In Arakan the loss 
in action was none, but of the average strength of the two 
regiments, the 44th and 54th, amounting to 1004 men, 595 
died in the oountiy in the course of eight months, and of 
those who quitted it not more than a half were alive at the 
end of twelve months." — Report on the Sickness and Mor- 
tality among Her Mtyesty's Troops serving in the Burmese 
Empire, from the Records of the Army Medical Depart- 
ment, <&c. By M^or Alex. M'Tulloch. Presented to both 
Houses of Parliament, by Command of Her Miyesty, August, 

(15. — p. Q6d.) During eight years the deaths amongst the 
Queen's troops at Moelmain did not exceed annually thirty- 
three per thousand ; those in the Company's artillery there 
averaged only twenty-nine. At Tavoy and Mergui the deaths 
of a small detachment of her Majesty's troops during several 
years did not exceed one per cent, being a lower ratio than 
even in the United Kingdom. — Statistics of Sickness and 
Mortality of Her Majesty's Troops in the Tenasserim Pro- 
vinces, &c. 

(16. — p. 288.) When these countries were first taken 
possession of in 1826, they were almost depopulated, and 
were so unproductive, that it was seriously deliberated 
whether they were worth retaining; and it was proposed 
to restore them to Burma. Fortunately for the people, the 
proposal was overruled ; and, although their advancement 
was somewhat retarded by errors of management when first 
placed under British rule, the result has established, beyond 
question, the benefits they have derived from the change of 
rulers. By the last returns, the population of Moulmain, which 
consisted originally of a few fishing huts alone, exceeded 
50,000, comprising a number of enterprising European mer- 
chants. The value of the imports and exports in 1850-51 
was nearly £600,000. The revenues of the Tenasserim 


29V' \OTKS. 

prjv:iu-e^. Aiixih •v^n* onguullj next to nothing; Aznoanied 
111 I** 4**- 4') ti« £rj').«>iit>. The population of the coannr is 
<'A\ v«t chin It M*act«*r»Hl. and the moortei of the pioTince 
axv dif ip)ai •ieveli)pe<l. Fn Airnksm the progreas has been 
<«ciii mont r*^QiiiriLibIe the p«}paliition was nted on the l$t 
f.iniuiry i^'v'\ *t :U4.9L 4. •}f whom onlT two hundred were 
Kar>ueans. In I'^'i'^ it was estimated at leas than one- 
rhini. -ir ibimt L'^i vK^ The reTenue of 1S50-5 1 amounted 
M £^>.'>«>i^. uid more i\mn covered the expenses. The 
indt; >c* Akyili. tli«f principal port. was. in the some year. 
.it' :\w valui.' >t' t:»r.i-.M,.ii ,,t* which El 5:^143 was the Taine 
r ;he rice exported Ainkan having become the granary 
t' the L'ouDtnes along die Bav ot' Bengal, and being capable 
cr supplying them to an incakulable extent Such have 
b*'t*u the effects of a mild and equitable, although a foreigu 
^vemmeiit. in the short interval of twenty-six yean. 

1 1 

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